MELFORT, Sask. — Many more families of those who died and were injured in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash are expected to speak in court today.
About half of 75 victim impact statements are still to be submitted in a sentencing hearing for the truck driver who blew a stop sign in rural Saskatchewan.
Court heard Monday that the truck was covering all lanes of the intersection north of Tisdale, Sask., when the junior hockey team’s bus struck it last April.
Sixteen people died and 13 were injured.
Jaskirat Singh Sidhu has pleaded guilty to 29 counts of dangerous driving.
Scott Thomas told court Monday that he struggled to write a victim impact statement and chose instead to write a letter to his dead son.
“Hi son. It’s Dad. God we miss you,” Thomas said in front of about 100 people in a makeshift courtroom in a gymnasium in Melfort, Sask.
“Every day your mom waits for you to come through the door looking for her to make you a pot of Kraft Dinner.”
He described how his son’s friends visited last year and cried while going over old photos, and how the family went to Florida for Christmas instead of Grandma’s cabin because they couldn’t stand to be there without him.
He also broke the news that they have bought a new home and sold the one his son grew up in.
“I don’t think we can stay there anymore. You are everywhere,” said Thomas.
“Your room, your couch, your gaming TV downstairs, the fridge that you used to walk up to every morning and run your finger from the top of your head to the top of the fridge to see if you had grown taller than the fridge yet.”
He told his son not to worry. They would be taking all of his stuff with them and that their new house has big walls to hang his photos and hockey jerseys and sticks.
He ended the letter by saying that when a parent loses a child in an instant, they are no longer afraid to die themselves. “I have to believe that I will meet you somewhere on the other side.”
Other parents, sisters and girlfriends sobbed and struggled through their statements Monday.
Some thanked Sidhu for pleading guilty and said they believe he’s remorseful. Others said they can never forgive him and don’t understand why he didn’t obey the stop sign.
Thomas later told reporters that he cried more listening to other people’s statements than he did reading his own.
“Because you know what you’re dealing with. And you have an idea what everybody else is dealing with, but to hear them articulate it and put it into their words, it’s powerful stuff.”
Crown prosecutor Thomas Healey described it as a difficult and emotional day in an extraordinary case. He said the hearing may wrap up Wednesday.