It has been over six years since the tragic death of 16 persons, and many injured, on a bus carrying the Humbolt Broncos hockey team in the Canadian Province of Saskatchewan. Now the incident has been pushed into the back pages of history, except for the infrequent mentions of the truck driver, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, who reportedly caused the disaster. The most recent news is that Sindu has been ordered deported to India. And many believe that this wicked, evil person deserves this additional punishment.

In our public mask no one has ever driven through a red traffic signal, mistaken the presence of a stop sign, or inadvertently pressed on a gas pedal when attempting to brake. In many of these non-existent instances no other vehicle or pedestrian is present and nothing of substance is the consequence. And we also strongly believe that there is a Santa Claus. So it is comforting to believe that only one entity, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, was the sole culprit in the Broncos tragedy.

The fact that the official police reports into the Broncos collision have never been publicly revealed appears to be a minor triviality. After all, numerous news media were present shortly after the crash and numerous reports were filed about Sidhu’s trial and final sentencing. How could anyone be misled about what actually transpired and who was at fault when so many news people were reporting on the story?

Yet some news media reported additional facts. Many years before the Broncos tragedy, six persons were killed at the same intersection and the government of Saskatchewan has the obligation to examine the site for its safety. An area of trees was present at the south-east quadrant of the intersection and anyone with the simplest understanding of road safety would have recognized that this could be a visibility problem for drivers approaching from the east and south, exactly like the travel directions of the Broncos bus and Sidhu’s heavily laden truck train.

However not everyone would have the additional knowledge that, in rural Saskatchewan, on smoothly paved highways, where urban traffic is minimal, vehicles travelling straight through on a flat road could exceed the speed limit. Such data would only be available to the government.

And similarly, few would have the knowledge that, a fully-laden truck, with an additionally long trailer attached to it, would require an exceptionally long time to clear a cross road. If such a truck came to a full stop at a busy cross road it would require the driver to look a very long distance along the cross road to evaluate whether his truck could make it across the road in safety. But human visual capability is not limitless. Humans are simply incapable of detecting the approach speed of vehicles if those vehicles are well beyond 200 metres. So often a truck driver must estimate by considering the distance of the approaching vehicle rather than its speed, to determine whether a crossing is safely possible. A frequent alternative is that such drivers do not come to a complete stop at a stop sign because it would take too long to gain speed and too long to clear the intersection. So such drivers approach the intersection and make a quick glance along the cross road and continue without stopping so they can clear the intersection in a quicker time. But this is often done because many intersections have considerable visibility on approach to a cross road. The truck driver can begin looking along the cross road, and see a substantial part of it, before coming to a stop sign.

But at the rural intersection of the Broncos crash site the visibility was limited by the previously noted trees. This danger was two-fold. Not only did the trees prevent Sindu from seeing the Broncos bus approaching from his left, but the trees also prevented the bus driver from seeing the approach of the Sindu truck to its stop sign. If a sufficient amount of visibility was made available, the bus driver could have seen the substantial approach speed of the Sindu truck and could have had the opportunity to brake and likely avoid the collision. If the Saskatchewan Department of Transportation was performing its role properly it should have been aware of these facts even through they might not be apparent to the average user of the intersection. To what degree was this additional problem discussed at Sindu’s trial? While Gorski Consulting followed the various news reports, we could not locate any information about what was discussed on this issue at Sindu’s trial.

The news media reported further “facts” from the trial that seemed to make little sense. Such as the fact that police calculations would have demonstrated that the bus driver applied his brakes before seeing the Sindu truck. Or that the police calculations suggested that the bus speed was 123 km/h. Such confusing information could have been sorted out if a detailed study was made of the police investigation by an independent entity such as Gorski Consulting. But we were never given that opportunity.

Furthermore, the roof the bus was found to be separated from the rest of its structure when photos were shown at its final rest position shortly after the crash. The characteristics of the separation gave the initial impression the emergency personnel had cut off the roof in order to gain access to the numerous injured passengers. However subsequent information from others suggested that this was no the case and that the roof became separated as a result of the crash. Such an occurrence would be highly relevant to the safety of the passengers. But nothing was officially revealed about what happened with respect to the bus roof.

While it would seem that the annoying little mosquito of truth was finally put to rest, a new article became published by the Canadian Press and displayed on the CP24 News website dated May 28, 2024. The title of this article was “Humboldt Broncos families fight to keep Saskatchewan government named in lawsuit”. It reported that four families of those bus passengers were suing the Saskatchewan government because “…the province knew the rural intersection where the crash happened had problems with visibility but did nothing to fix it”. The families’ lawyer, Kevin Mellor, was quoted as saying “If the government had simply designed and constructed and maintained the highway…the bus would have stopped regardless of what Mr. Sidhu had done…and the Broncos would have lived”. The Saskatchewan government was fighting to prevent the trial from taking place.

Much like Sidhu’s trial, even if the civil trial takes place there is no guarantee that the basic truths about the Broncos crash will ever be publicly revealed. Deals will be made behind the cameras so that nothing of substance is made public. Yet public knowledge is what keeps the powerful accountable for their actions. It is not a way of looking for vengeance. It is a way in which safety problems become acknowledged and fixed so future families do not have to experience these terrible tragedies. Killing that pesky mosquito of truth before it has a chance to draw the public’s attention is the additional Humboldt Broncos tragedy.