Saskatchewan

Truck driver Jaskirat Singh Sidhu's final days before fatal crash with Humboldt Broncos

Proceedings this week revealed that Sidhu had committed 70 provincial and federal logbook violations in the 11 days leading up to the crash.

Details of 3 weeks leading up to 2018 crash that killed 16 emerged this week in court

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, the driver of the truck that struck the bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos hockey team, is seen leaving after the second day of sentencing hearings in Melfort, Sask. (Canadian Press)

Any little moment in time could have made all the difference on April 6, 2018.

If truck driver Jaskirat Singh Sidhu had been driving slightly slower. If he had stopped for lunch. If he had spent two extra minutes checking his maps.

If various parts of that fateful and terrible day had taken just a minute or two longer, 16 people with the Humboldt Broncos might still be alive today.

But tragically, the day unfolded as it did.

Details heard at a sentencing hearing this week spelled out what happened between the day Sidhu started working for the Calgary-based trucking company three weeks earlier and the fatal crash.

On April 5, Sidhu drove between Calgary and Saskatoon carrying a load of peat moss. He stopped to make a delivery before he spent the night in the Bridge City.

On April 6, the day of the crash, he drove from Saskatoon to Carrot River.

Sidhu's logbooks indicated he took an "unusual" five-hour-long break, just two hours before the collision.

At some point that day, before he arrived in Carrot River, he missed a turn and stopped at the side of a secondary highway and checked a map on his phone.

When he tried to restart his journey, he noted the road was slippery, which was "quite a concern for him."

Sidhu tried to call a tow truck for help, but he was unable to contact anyone.

He then encountered someone from the area who pulled Sidhu's truck back on to the road and gave him directions to Carrot River.

Sidhu walks with his lawyers Mark Brayford, right, and Glen Luther after the third day of sentencing hearings. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Sidhu parked his truck to unload and reload it when he arrived in Carrot River. The process took one hour — Sidhu then returned to the road.

Courts heard that Sidhu then made a stop to check a map 50 kilometres away from the crash site.

While he was driving on Highway 335, Sidhu also noticed one of the tarps had gotten air underneath it and was flapping in the wind.

The flapping tarp continued to worry him as he drove down the highway, so he stopped to fix the problem.

Because of this stop, his lawyer argued, Sidhu "wasn't zoned out" or suffering from "highway hypnosis" from driving.

While heading down Highway 335 at speeds between 86 and 96 kilometres per hour, Sidhu passed by five signs, including an "oversized" stop sign equipped with red flashing lights at the intersection of Highway 35 and 335.

And then came the moment he will never forget. According to the statement of facts from the case, the semi continued into the intersection and was struck by the Broncos bus 

A draft statement of facts, which has yet to be presented in court, has been obtained by CBC. It details the events that led to the Humboldt Broncos' team bus crash on April 6, 2018. 0:33

One of his defence lawyers said he didn't know why Sidhu didn't notice the multiple warnings before speeding into the intersection.

"There was no evidence that he chose to drive through that stop sign," Mark Brayford said. "I wanted to know why this happened. I'm disappointed to tell people I can't say. He doesn't know."

The Broncos bus, travelling north on Highway 35, "hard braked" in an attempt to evade the collision, according to the draft statement of facts document.

"At the point of impact, the bus struck the semi trailer unit just forward of the wheels on the lead trailer," the draft statement of facts said.

"There was no way Glen Doerksen, the bus driver, could have avoided the collision."

As proceedings began on Monday, it was revealed that Sidhu had committed 70 provincial and federal logbook violations in the 11 days leading up to the crash.

Those errors could have resulted in a 72-hour out-of-service declaration that would have kept Sidhu off the roads on that fateful day.

The Humboldt Broncos team and community has received support from around the world - something they say has helped them survive this tragedy. (Karen Pauls/CBC )

Courts heard alcohol was not a factor. Neither were drugs, or cellphone use.

Sidhu pleaded guilty to 16 charges of dangerous driving causing death and 13 counts of dangerous driving causing bodily injury.

The Crown says he should be sentenced to 10 years in prison. He is set to be sentenced on March 22, 2019.

With files from Jason Warick