In­jured player claims bus driver was speed­ing

Calgary Herald - - FRONT PAGE - KEVIN MARTIN kmartin@post­ Twit­­in­courts

The driver of the bus on which Humboldt Bron­cos team mem­bers were killed and in­jured was speed­ing at the time of the col­li­sion, al­leges a law­suit filed on be­half of one of the sur­viv­ing play­ers.

In a state­ment of claim filed in Calgary Court of Queen’s Bench, Air­drie res­i­dent Ryan Straschnit­zki seeks more than $13 mil­lion from a va­ri­ety of de­fen­dants, in­clud­ing the es­tate of driver Glen Do­erk­sen, who died in the crash.

Also named as de­fen­dants are truck driver Jaski­rat Singh Sidhu, who was sen­tenced to eight years in prison for caus­ing the deadly crash, Calgary com­pany Adesh Deol Truck­ing Ltd., and Char­lie’s Char­ters Ltd., the Saskatchew­an com­pany which owned the bus car­ry­ing the play­ers.

In civil lit­i­ga­tion, mul­ti­ple par­ties are of­ten named as de­fen­dants be­cause courts can ap­por­tion blame to more than one re­spon­si­ble party.

The law­suit notes Straschnit­zki suf­fered cat­a­strophic in­juries in the April 6, 2018 crash along High­way 35 in Saskatchew­an, which killed 16 peo­ple and in­jured 13 oth­ers when Do­erk­sen’s bus col­lided with Sidhu’s trac­tor trailer.

Sidhu, who ran a stop sign on High­way 335, pleaded guilty last year to 16 counts of dan­ger­ous driv­ing caus­ing death and 13 of dan­ger­ous driv­ing caus­ing bod­ily harm.

The law­suit claims Sidhu drove into the path of the north­bound bus af­ter fail­ing to stop at the in­ter­sec­tion.

But it also lays blame on Do­erk­sen for the crash which left Straschnit­zki con­fined to a wheel­chair.

“Mr. Do­erk­sen was driv­ing the ... bus in ex­cess of the posted speed limit of 100 km/h,” the claim says.

“The de­fen­dant, Mr. Do­erk­sen, owed a duty of care to the plain­tiff to op­er­ate the said bus ex­er­cis­ing all rea­son­able care and skill.”

The law­suit al­leges Do­erk­sen op­er­ated the bus “at speeds in ex­cess of the posted lim­its to a max­i­mum of at least 119 km/h.”

It claims Do­erk­sen was also aware that par­tic­u­lar in­ter­sec­tion had a his­tory of deadly col­li­sions.

“Mr. Do­erk­sen was fa­mil­iar with the high­way upon which he was trans­port­ing the Humboldt Bron­cos hockey team per­son­nel and knew that he was ap­proach­ing a ma­jor in­ter­sec­tion at which there had been nu­mer­ous fa­tal col­li­sions in the past.”

He failed to act in a rea­son­able and pru­dent way by “fail­ing to re­duce the speed of the said bus know­ing he was ap­proach­ing a dan­ger­ous in­ter­sec­tion even though he was aware or ought to have been aware of the in­creased haz­ard pre­sented by the sight-re­stricted in­ter­sec­tion and its dan­ger­ous his­tory.”

Other named de­fen­dants in­clude the own­ers of the trailer Sidhu was pulling, the man­u­fac­turer of the bus, the Govern­ment of Al­berta, which is re­spon­si­ble for the reg­u­la­tion and en­force­ment of ex­tra pro­vin­cial car­ri­ers reg­is­tered in this prov­ince, and the Saskatchew­an govern­ment, which main­tains and de­signs its high­ways.

State­ments of de­fence in re­sponse to the un­proven al­le­ga­tions have not been filed.

Ryan Straschnit­zki

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