Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos bus crash sentenced to 8 years in prison
Melfort provincial court Judge Inez Cardinal delivered her decision Friday, determining the 30-year-old’s fate after he was in a rural Saskatchewan collision that killed 16 people and injured 13 others.
Sidhu had pleaded guilty in January to 16 counts of dangerous driving causing death and 13 counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.
He was sentenced to eight years for each count of causing death, and five years for each count of bodily harm. The sentences are to be served concurrently.
WATCH: The truck driver responsible for the deadly Humboldt Bronco’s bus crash has been sentenced to eight years in prison. Heather Yourex-West reports.
Cardinal said she focussed on precedents set in cases involving truck drivers charged with dangerous driving in coming to her decision.
“Somehow, we must stop the carnage on our highways,” Cardinal said.
“Attention to the road matters.”
WATCH: Families of the victims in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash react to Jaskirat Singh Sidhu’s sentence
Cardinal said nothing was blocking Sidhu’s view, he failed to see five signs, the bus or the intersection.
“It is baffling, and incomprehensible, that a professional driver, even one with little experience, could miss so many markers over such a long distance,” she wrote in her decision.
The Humboldt Broncos said in a statement they are thankful the legal matter is over and Sidhu took responsibility for his actions.
“Having this legal matter settled and the sentencing complete is a big step in the healing process for the survivors, grieving families, our organization and the community of Humboldt and surrounding area,” Broncos president Jamie Brockman said.
“The sentence is subject to varying opinions but what is important is that Mr. Sidhu plead guilty, has shown remorse and has remained accountable for his careless actions.”
WATCH BELOW: Father of Humboldt bus crash victim ‘not satisfied’ with truck driver sentencing
The collision happened after Sidhu drove through a stop sign on April 6, 2018, and collided with the bus at a rural Saskatchewan intersection as it was carrying the Broncos to a playoff game.
Sixteen people were killed and 13 others injured.
A sentencing hearing in January heard that Sidhu was going between 86 and 96 km/h when he passed four signs warning him about the upcoming intersection before he came up to an oversized stop sign with a flashing light.
Sidhu apologized to his victims following four days of proceedings that included 90 victim impact statements and hours of arguments from lawyers.
He took full responsibility for the crash and stated the tragedy happened because of his inexperience as a driver.
Sidhu said it took time for him to realize his semi-truck collided with a bus.
The defence stated Sidhu was distracted by a tarp flapping on the trailer of the truck, causing him to miss four signs warning of an intersection ahead.
Defence lawyer Mark Brayford said Sidhu was hired by a small Calgary trucking company three weeks earlier. He spent two weeks with another trucker before heading out on his own for his first time.
Brayford didn’t make a specific sentencing recommendation, but told court other cases range from 18 months to 4-and-a-half years.
WATCH: Robin Gill talks to criminal lawyer Eric Gottardi about the factors considered in this sentencing.
Crown prosecutor Thomas Healey argued Sidhu should receive a 10-year prison sentence followed by a 10-year driving ban.
He said Sidhu should have seen the busy highway in front of him or a car that was stopped across the road and waiting for the Broncos bus to pass.
Healey described the truck as a rocket that barrelled into the intersection, which gave the bus driver no time to avoid the crash.
Regardless of the judge’s decision, Brayford said any sentence beyond six months would mean Sidhu, who is not a Canadian citizen, would face deportation to India.
Immigration lawyer Lorne Waldman, who is based in Toronto and is not involved in the case, says there’s little Sidhu can do to remain in Canada.
Waldman says permanent residents such as Sidhu cannot remain in the country if they commit a crime for which the maximum sentence is at least 10 years or their jail sentence is more than six months.
And he says that with a term of more than six months, there’s no right to appeal a deportation order.
-With files from The Canadian Press
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