Excerpts from Humboldt Broncos crash statement of facts

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An agreed statement of facts detailing events leading to the Humboldt Broncos’ team bus crash has been obtained by CBC. This is a preliminary version, which has yet to be presented in court, in the sentencing of Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, who has pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death and injury.

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Just before 5 p.m. on Friday, April 6, 2018, Sidhu was driving a transport truck, pulling two trailers filled with bags of peat moss, west on Highway 335. The Broncos’ team bus was travelling north on Highway 35 on its way to a playoff hockey game when the two vehicles crashed at the highways’ intersection.

Sixteen people — a majority members of the junior hockey team — died as a result of the crash, while 13 were injured.

No stopping, no distractions

According to the statement, Sidhu was travelling at a speed of 86 to 96 km/hr, west on Highway 335, at the point of impact. 

The road conditions and weather conditions were fine for safe driving, and the intersection was clearly visible to him. The trees at the corner of the intersection would not have stopped Sidhu from seeing the approaching bus if he had stopped at the stop sign, according to the statement.

“The relevant stop sign was an ‘oversized’ stop sign; it was 4 feet in diameter,” reads the statement.

The sign was affixed to a light standard that also had a red traffic light, that flashed once per second as a warning to drivers.

Pictured is the intersection where the crash occurred. Originally, there was concern the trees may have obstructed a semi driver’s ability to see a bus coming toward the intersection. According to a statement of facts, the trees would have not proved an obstruction if the semi driver had stopped at the stop sign. (CBC )

Collision unavoidable for bus driver

The bus driver, Glen Doerksen, applied the brakes to the bus and started to skid, about 24 metres before the point of impact. The bus was travelling at a speed of 96 to 107 km/h at the time of the crash.

The truck was completely in the intersection and spanning all lanes of Highway 35 when the bus hit the semi in a T-bone fashion, just forward of the wheels on the lead trailer.

“There was no way that Glen Doerksen, the bus driver, could have avoided the collision,” the statement said.

The statement of facts put the responsibility of the crash fully on Sidhu, saying Doerksen recognized the hazard early and tried to avoid the crash.

“The driver of the semi-tractor unit failed to recognize the hazard and took minimal or no action in an effort to avoid the collision,” it stated, noting that alcohol and drugs were not a factor, and that Sidhu was not believed to have been distracted by his cellphone at the time of the crash.

The Crown did submit that violations in Sidhu’s logbook and trip inspection reports constituted an aggravating factor. 

Sidhu has pleaded guilty to 16 counts of dangerous driving causing death and 13 counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. Sentencing for Sidhu is scheduled to begin Jan. 28 in Melfort, Sask.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/agreed-statement-facts-humboldt-broncos-semi-tractor-driver-1.4970688?cmp=rss