‘Smallest slap on the wrist’: Humboldt Broncos victims’ parents decry truck company owner’s $5,000 fine
A $5,000 fine handed to the owner of a transport truck involved in the fatal bus crash that killed members of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team was the “smallest slap on the wrist.”
It was a “penalty, if you can call it that.”
So say the parents of two boys killed in the crash, which left 16 people dead and 13 others injured.
WATCH (March 22): Truck driver in Humboldt bus crash sentenced to 8 years
On Wednesday, Sukhmander Singh, the owner of former Calgary-based business Adesh Deol Trucking, was handed a $5,000 fine after he pleaded guilty to five separate safety-related charges, which included failing to keep a driver’s log, neglecting to make sure that his drivers followed safety regulations and keeping more than a single daily logbook.
Singh also pleaded guilty to not following — or not keeping — a written safety program.
The offences took place between Jan. 1 and March 31, all of them happening before the bus crash on April 6, 2018.
The penalty disappointed Saskatoon resident Scott Thomas, whose son Evan was killed in the bus crash.
WATCH BELOW: Family ‘disappointed’ with fine for owner of trucking company involved in Humboldt Broncos bus crash
“I don’t really have a good number in mind, but to me, something that substantial should significantly impact their business operations,” he told Global News (Adesh Deol Trucking is no longer in business).
“I don’t think $5,000 would be enough to make him bat an eye; he could probably take that out of his cash reserves,” Thomas added.
WATCH (March 22): Humboldt Broncos families react to truck driver’s 8-year prison sentence
Thomas said he was less upset with Jaskirat Singh Sidhu — the truck driver sentenced to eight years in prison in connection with the bus crash earlier this month — than he was with trucking companies, who he said aren’t doing enough to train those who drive the trucks.
At Sidhu’s sentencing, it emerged that the driver went through a stop sign before he collided with the Broncos’ team bus at an intersection in rural Saskatchewan.
Sidhu’s defence lawyer said the driver had been hired by a Calgary trucking company three weeks prior to the crash and had spent two weeks with a different trucker before he took the helm of a vehicle by himself for the first time.
“[Singh] had a job he wanted to get done, he found [an employee] who barely qualified, sent him out into the world and said, ‘Get this done and get back here,'” Thomas said.
“It’s just a total lack of disregard for how serious and for how much of a loaded weapon those vehicles are.”
Thomas was nevertheless relieved that the legal aspect to the Humboldt Broncos bus crash has ended for now.
WATCH (March 8): HumboldtStrong allocates $1.9M to Humboldt Broncos bus crash families
He has thrown his support behind a petition calling on the federal government to hike the training requirements for Class 1 licences, which allow people to drive trucks.
“Anything we can do to get more names on that petition would be a good thing,” Thomas said.
Chris Joseph, a former NHL player and father to 20-year-old bus crash victim Jaxon Joseph, also felt Singh’s fine was too light.
“A $5,000 fine is really the smallest slap on the wrist you could have,” he told Global News.
“We were hoping for much more than that.”
Joseph, too, has been boosting the petition, saying that he and others want national training for a Class 1 licence.
He wants this “for the simple reason that, if you take your course in the middle of summer in Saskatchewan and you pass, that does not prepare you for driving across a mountain pass in the middle of winter in B.C.”
Now, he wants to see new standards introduced across the country.
He’d like to see rules mandating that seatbelts are mandatory on any vehicle that traverses a highway — or even on metropolitan city buses.
“Why not have seatbelts?” Joseph asked.
“They have proven to save lives.”
—With files from Ryan Kessler and the Canadian Press
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.