Truck driver ran stop sign before collision with Broncos bus

MELFORT — A statement of facts released at the sentencing hearing of the truck driver that collided with the Humboldt Broncos bus says the driver didn’t stop at the stop sign.

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu has pleaded guilty to 16 counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and 13 counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily injury. His sentencing hearing started Jan. 28 at Melfort’s Kerry Vickar Centre.

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On April 6 at about 5 pm, the statement said, a westbound semi-truck driven by Sidhu on Highway 335 collided with the northbound team bus travelling on Highway 35 at the point where the two highways intersect. The semi-truck was pulling two trailers loaded with peat moss.

A forensic report quoted by the statement of facts said the semi-truck did not stop prior to entering the intersection. No marks from braking were left by the semi-truck. At the point of impact, the semi-truck was travelling between 86 and 96 kilometres per hour, while the bus was travelling at a speed between 96 and 107 kilometres per hour.

Immediately prior to the collision, the statement said, the bus driver applied the brakes of the bus. The bus started to skid. At the point of impact, the semi-truck was struck in a T-bone fashion by the bus. The actions of the bus driver were found by the forensic report to not contribute to the collision.

The statement said there were no environmental conditions that contributed to the collision, as the road conditions and weather conditions were found suitable for driving. Sidhu was not believed to be distracted by a cellphone at the time of the collision. The position of the sun also was not believed by the forensic report to have interfered with his driving, and the obstructed sightline in the southeast by trees was found to be inconsequential should he have stopped.

There was a stop sign at the intersection for eastbound and westbound traffic that Sidhu would have encountered. There also was a “stop sign ahead” sign 301 metres east that Sidhu would have passed, as well as a sign warning motorists about the intersection.

One vehicle, heading east on Highway 335, the opposite direction the semi-truck was heading, was stopped at the intersection at the time of the collision, waiting for the bus to pass.

Two other northbound vehicles were behind the bus on Highway 35 at the time of the collision. The first was five car lengths behind, while the second was less than a mile behind.

The hearing is expected to take most of the week and will include the reading of 65 victim impact statements.

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