'It's still the Wild West out there,' father of Humboldt crash victim says after charges laid

The father of a player killed in the Humboldt Broncos crash hopes the charges laid Wednesday against the owner of the trucking company involved in the crash will send a message to the trucking industry.

Trucking company involved in crash faces 8 counts of failing to follow log book and safety program

Scott Thomas' son, Evan, died in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in April. He hopes charges laid Wednesday against the trucking company involved will make the roads safer. (Jason Warick/CBC)

The father of a player killed in the Humboldt Broncos crash hopes the charges laid Wednesday will send a message to the trucking industry.

"It's still the Wild West out there. It's chaos," said Scott Thomas, whose son, Evan, was one of 16 people killed in the crash in early April.

The Alberta government announced charges Wednesday against Sukhinder Singh of Adesh Deol Trucking Ltd. It covers the six-month period up to and including the crash that killed 16 people in early April. The charges include failing to maintain proper log books and failing to implement safety programs.

Singh's first court appearance is in early November. If he's found guilty, maximum fines are $5,000 for some charges and $3,000 for others.

The Humboldt Broncos. (Humboldt Broncos website)

Thomas agreed to speak with CBC News Wednesday just before taking his daughter to hockey practice. He said the crash has convinced him and other families that things need to change. He hopes the charges and other attention on the case will make Canada's roads safer.

"I've said a few times that it'll be hard for me to acknowledge that anything good can come out of the death of my son, but that's definitely not a bad thing if the trucking industry starts to change and becomes a bit more accountable.

The truck driver was charged earlier, and those charges are still before the Saskatchewan courts. 

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, 29, who was not hurt in the crash, was working for Adesh Deol Trucking Ltd. when the crash occurred at a rural intersection. 

The team bus was travelling northbound on Highway 35. The semi-trailer was coming from the east on Highway 335. (CBC )

In April, Sidhu was driving west on Highway 335 in a semi as a charter bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos was northbound on Highway 35 to an SJHL playoff game in Nipawin, Sask. The two vehicles collided at an intersection. RCMP said the bus had the right of way, and that there was a flashing stop sign to warn drivers.

The RCMP said the semi was in the intersection when the vehicles collided. There were 29 people on the Broncos bus. The crash killed 16 and injured 13 others.

Trucking association supports enforcement

Saskatchewan Trucking Association director of policy Nicole Sinclair said in an interview that the number of regulations are "absolutely adequate," but their association supports increased enforcement. She said Saskatchewan Government Insurance officials have been doing more to ensure compliance with the rules in recent months.

SGI has a file of "carrier safety profiles" and uses it to see which companies require auditing, she said.

Alberta Transportation Minister Brian Mason said the charges "follow an investigation that was completed by Alberta Transportation into the collision...The investigation found multiple instances of non-compliance of various transportation regulatory requirements in a six-month period."

About the Author

Jason Warick

Reporter

Jason Warick is a reporter with CBC Saskatoon.

-with files from CBC's Olivia Stefanovich

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