OTTAWA — The police arrested a 29-year-old truck driver on Friday in connection with a bus crash in Saskatchewan in April that killed 16 people, many of them young hockey players, and injured 13 others.
The driver, Jaskirat Sidhu, was arrested at his home in Calgary, Alberta, and was charged by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police with 16 counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, causing death, and 13 counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, causing bodily harm. Both are criminal charges.
“In comparison to other events in Canada, this stands on its own,” Derek Williams, the superintendent who leads the major crimes unit for Saskatchewan, said at a news conference in Regina, the provincial capital.
Superintendent Williams said that the investigation into the cause of the crash had been completed, but he said that the findings would be presented in court. He declined to elaborate. When pressed, he said that investigators had looked into the possibility of driver impairment, but noted that no charges related to impairment had been filed.
At the time of the collision, Mr. Sidhu had been driving trucks for only two weeks, following a brief training course.
The bus was carrying the Humboldt Broncos hockey team to a playoff game in Nipawin in April when it collided with a truck that was pulling two flatbed trailers piled high with bags of peat moss. The deaths were devastating for Humboldt, a farm town of 4,800 with a 1,854-seat arena.
A position on the Broncos’ roster could be a steppingstone to a college hockey scholarship or, eventually, the National Hockey League. So the players on the bus had moved to Humboldt from across western Canada. The deaths of so many young people from such a vast area spread the sorrow throughout Canada and around the world.
A GoFundMe campaign started by two women in Humboldt raised just over 15 million Canadian dollars for the victims’ families. Throughout Canada, people left hockey sticks near their front doors as a memorial to the 15 players who died. A memorial service at the Broncos’ home arena was broadcast nationally.
While the intersection where the collision occurred had been the scene of a crash that killed six people in 1997, the cause of the April crash was far from clear. The sky was clear at the time of collision, both roads were free of ice and snow, the sun was high in the sky and out of drivers’ eyes and sightlines at the intersection extended for miles.
The investigation was unusually extensive. Superintendent Williams said that his core team of 20 officers was supplemented by up to 100 others, as well as experts from Transport Canada, a federal agency. A simulation of the crash was carried out at the intersection in April, and drones were used to create a three-dimensional reconstruction of what might have happened.
Mr. Sidhu, who had not previously been identified by the authorities, worked for a small company called Adesh Deol Trucking, evidently also known as Quality Logistics, which is based in Calgary and had two trucks.
Mr. Sidhu is scheduled to make his first court appearance next week. The more serious of the two charges carries a maximum term of 14 years in prison.
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