The driver of the semitruck that crashed into the Humboldt Broncos team bus was arrested on Friday in Calgary by the Royal Canadian Mountain Police.
Jaskirat Sidhu faces 16 counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, 13 counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm. His first court appearance in Saskatchewan Provincial Court is next week. Sidhu, 29, is from Calgary.
The news comes exactly three months after the incident, which killed 16 people and injured 13 others.
The team released a statement Friday thanking the RCMP, saying: “the organization has faith in the justice system and we will be watching closely as this court process plays out. We will have no further comment on the investigation or the resulting charges until the process has concluded.
“Our primary focus continues to be supporting the survivors, families and others that were directly impacted by the tragedy on April 6th. We ask that media maintain and respect their privacy as this matter proceeds through the courts.”
RCMP said they conducted 60 interviews and took thousands of photos in evidence collection throughout the investigation. They also reconstructed the crash with replica vehicles, examining speed and position of vehicles.
“What we can say about the evidence is limited, as the matter is before the courts,” RCMP Superintendent Derek Williams said at a news conference on Friday.
The Humboldt Broncos were en route to a playoff game on April 6 in Saskatchewan when their team bus crashed into a semitruck in a rural intersection. The bus driver, the team’s coach and general manager and 10 players were among those killed.
Dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death can face a maximum prison term of 14 years, while dangerous operation causing bodily harm can face a max prison term of 10 years.
The RCMP did not provide information about a toxicology report. The RCMP also did not comment on whether the trucking company broke any laws or whether they would be subject to future investigation.
The RCMP met with families on Friday morning to inform them about the charges before they were announced publicly.
The Broncos are putting plans in place for their 2018-19 season. The team recently named Nathan Oystrick as the new coach and general manager, filling the vacancy of Darcy Haugan, who was killed in the crash. The 35-year-old Oystrick played professional hockey for 10 seasons, including 65 career NHL games with the Atlanta Thrashers, Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues. He is a native of Saskatchewan.
It was also announced last week that the victims of the crash might soon get interim payments from the fundraising campaign that collected $15.2 million. More than 140,000 people donated from more than 80 countries to a GoFundMe account created shortly after the crash. That money will be split among the 29 families affected. It is the second-largest GoFundMe campaign globally, trailing only the $21.5 million raised for the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund.