A memorialat the site of a fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team sits at the intersection of highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Sask., on Tuesday, October 27, 2020. The Saskatchewan government is trying to be removed from a lawsuit brought by a number of the victims' families. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards

‘An insult to the families:’ Saskatchewan government wants out of Broncos lawsuit

‘An insult to the families:’ Saskatchewan government wants out of Broncos lawsuit

REGINA — Lawyers for the Saskatchewan government are to be in a Regina courtroom Wednesday to ask a judge to remove the province from a lawsuit filed by families of victims of the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

But lawyers for the hockey families argue the province should accept responsibility for chronic inaction at the rural intersection where the crash happened in April 2018.

Sixteen people were killed and 13 others were seriously injured when the junior hockey team’s bus was hit by a semi-trailer after the driver blew though a stop sign north of Tisdale, Sask. The inexperienced trucker, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, was sentenced to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving.

Among several lawsuits filed after the crash is one by the families of four players and an assistant coach who died. The families are suing Sidhu, the Calgary-based company that employed him, the bus company and the Saskatchewan government.

In its court notice, the government asks to be struck from the lawsuit because the province has no-fault insurance. That means a person receives comprehensive benefits no matter who’s responsible for a collision, but the right to sue for pain and suffering is limited.

“No person has any right of action respecting, arising out of or stemming from bodily injuries caused by a motor vehicle arising out of an accident,” reads the notice signed by deputy justice minister Michael Morris.

“Section 40.1 (of the Automobile Accident Insurance Act) extinguishes any right of action which may have otherwise been available to the plaintiffs.”

Regina lawyers Sharon Fox and Kevin Mellor represent the families of Adam Herold, 16, of Monmartre, Sask.; Jaxon Joseph, 20, of St. Albert, Alta.; Logan Hunter, 18, also of St. Albert; Jacob Leicht, 19, of Humboldt; and Mark Cross, 27, from Strasbourg, Sask.

“It’s an insult to the families,” Fox said in a phone interview. “I find it insulting that the government, rather than stepping up and doing the right thing, is continually trying to get out from underneath the very problem that they caused.

“They were amply warned by people who have experience, people who are civil engineers, who are trained and know how to construct and maintain highways.”

Mellor said the intersection at highways 35 and 335 was identified as being dangerous in 1997, after a family of six from Dawson Creek, B.C., including a five-week-old, died after their vehicle was hit by a semi-trailer.

“The trouble with the Saskatchewan government is this really goes back to when the NDP government was in power and they just chose to do nothing about it,” he said.

Fox and Mellor said there were recommendations from the RCMP, a coroner’s inquest, and local politicians and engineers at the time who called for the intersection to be changed.

The recommendations included putting rumble strips on the highway, removing a large stand of trees that blocked sight lines and improving signage.

A large stop sign was added after the 1997 accident, the lawyers said. Rumble strips were added and the trees were cut back slightly following the Broncos crash.

“Our focus is the government of Saskatchewan for the sight lines at that intersection and their gross negligence in letting that intersection go,” said Chris Joseph, whose son died.

“This will be a big day for us in court.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published November 3, 2020

— By Bill Graveland in Calgary

The Canadian Press

Humboldt Broncos

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Heather Buelow, owner of Aerial Edge Studio in Blackfalds, says she has spent ‘all of my saving keeping the studio going’ through government-mandated shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Contributed photo)
Either open in-person or close permanently: Central Alberta yoga studio defying rules

A central Alberta woman is allowing clients back into her yoga and… Continue reading

Sandra Schmirler Foundation donates $10,000 to Red Deer hospital

Donation will go towards electronic fetal heart monitoring project

A sustainability audit for Westerner Park suggested 33 changes, including more city involvement. (Advocate file photo)
Westerner Park expands volunteer program

As Westerner Park refocuses the organization, they are reigniting their emphasis on… Continue reading

Madelyn Boyko poses along with a number of the bath bombs she makes with her mom, Jessica Boyko. Madelyn says she enjoys making the bath bombs with her mom as it is a special time for just the two of them. (Photo Submitted)
5-year-old Sylvan Lake girl selling bath bombs in support of younger brother

Madelyn Boyko is selling bath bombs for CdLS research in honour of her younger brother

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on December 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Patrick Doyle
New regulator to stop sexual exploitation of children online: public safety minister

OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the government will introduce… Continue reading

Gordon Greenwood Elementary Grade 7 students were assigned to write about climate change. The Langley Advance Times is pleased to present a selection of their writings. (Sasha/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

OTTAWA — A new report shows Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly… Continue reading

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole to vote against Conservative MP’s private bill on ‘sex-selective abortion’

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says he will vote against a… Continue reading

Eugene Kwon of Gratia Bakery and Cafe says the business will be relying on take out orders and a small patio. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

OTTAWA — A group representing thousands of the country’s small businesses says… Continue reading

Ron Howard is photographed at the "Inferno" film premiere on Oct. 25, 2016 in Los Angeles. (Buckner/Rex Shutterstock/Zuma Press/TNS)
Brothers Ron and Clint Howard have memoir coming in October

NEW YORK — Filmmaker-actor Ron Howard and actor Clint Howard, brothers, former… Continue reading

FILE - In this Saturday, March 27, 2021 file photo, Buffalo Sabres’ Taylor Hall plays against the Boston Bruins during the second period of an NHL hockey game, in Boston. The Buffalo Sabres could trade 2018 MVP Hall, who signed for just this season and is a pending free agent. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
Boston Bruins acquire Taylor Hall to kick off NHL trade deadline day

Trade deadline day in the NHL has started with the Boston Bruins… Continue reading

The Huawei logo displayed at the main office of Chinese tech giant Huawei in Warsaw, Poland, on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. Poland’s Internal Security Agency has charged a Chinese manager at Huawei in Poland and one of its own former officers with espionage against Poland on behalf of China. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
Huawei, HSBC agree on document deal for extradition case

HONG KONG — Chinese telecommunications equipment firm Huawei said Monday that it… Continue reading

Most Read