Saskatoon

Thomas family to return to scene of Humboldt Broncos bus crash site to mark precise time of crash

Scott Thomas plans to mark the third anniversary of the Humboldt Bronco bus crash by travelling to the scene in Saskatchewan. His son Evan, 18, was one of the players who died that day.

'The last place he was on Earth': Scott Thomas, whose son Evan died that day

Scott Thomas at the Elgar Petersen Arena before a memorial service on the first anniversary of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash. (Bonnie Allen/CBC)

Scott Thomas is marking the third anniversary of the crash that killed his son Evan by travelling to the scene at the intersection of Highways 335 and 35 in Saskatchewan.

That's where a tractor-trailer hauling peat moss went through a stop sign into the path of the Humboldt Broncos team bus on April 6, 2018, killing 16 and injuring 13. Evan Thomas, 18, was one of the players who died that day.

"We haven't actually been there on the [anniversary] of the crash," Scott Thomas said in an interview.

"But this year we plan on going to the site and being there at 4:53, the best estimate of when the accident actually happened. It's an opportunity to spend some quiet time and see if we can be in, you know, the last place he was on Earth. And maybe there's some signs of his presence there."

Those touched by the crash are working to remember the people lost.

The Humboldt Bronco's Memorials Committee and the City of Humboldt are proposing a permanent memorial facility in Humboldt and a roadside memorial at the site of the tragedy.

The proposed $25-million tribute centre will honour the memory of the 29 victims of the Humboldt Boncos 2018 bus crash. (Submitted by the City of Humboldt)

City and team officials unveiled a blueprint for the tribute centre Monday at a news conference. It will include a gallery, an ice surface and a physiotherapy area.

Thomas said their family's world is now smaller and quieter.

"Three years has gone by and all the other background noise is kind of faded away. Things have definitely quieted down in that regard," he said.

"So now it's just our family, and we miss him a lot, every day."

Thomas said he's not in frequent contact with the other families. People are coping with the tragedy in their own ways.

A 'pray for Humboldt' jersey is draped at the site of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash. (Susan Ormiston/CBC)

In March, crash survivor Kaleb Dahlgren published a memoir titled Crossroads that tells the story of his life in hockey, playing for the Broncos that season, the crash and its aftermath.

Dahlgren said one of the reasons for writing the book was to "set down the Bronco side of me."

"So if anyone has any questions, they could read the book and then [I could] move forward and continue on living my life to the fullest, but still honour them and remember them every day."

Today at 4:50 p.m. CST, an online memorial service will be held to mark the third anniversary of the crash. 

There will be photos of the players and staff, as well as an online museum displaying what they call the "outpouring of gifts of love and support" that have been sent in the past three years.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Zakreski is a reporter for CBC Saskatoon.

now