Fa­ther thank­ful for plea, if not yet ready to for­give

Medicine Hat News - - UP FRONT - NICK KUHL Leth­bridge Her­ald [email protected]­bridge­herald.com

“If he was truly re­morse­ful, he would plead guilty” was one of the mes­sages from the fam­i­lies of vic­tims and the sur­viv­ing vic­tims of the Hum­boldt Bron­cos tragedy ahead of Tues­day’s court ap­pear­ance by truck driver Jaski­rat Singh Sidhu.

Re­lief then came Tues­day morn­ing as news of a guilty plea came out of the Melfort, Sask., court­room.

“This is a sig­nif­i­cant step in the griev­ing process,” said Toby Boulet, whose son Lo­gan was of the 16 peo­ple killed as a re­sult of a col­li­sion last April, speak­ing to lo­cal news re­porters Tues­day af­ter­noon.

“It opens a wound, but it also closes a door a lit­tle bit. Not all the way.”

Boulet then read a fam­ily state­ment.

“The Boulet fam­ily is re­lieved that Jaski­rat Singh Sidhu has cho­sen to plead guilty to all 29 charges from the Hum­boldt Bron­cos tragedy of April 6, 2018. We’re also con­tin­u­ally sad­dened at the death of our son Lo­gan and the other 15 mem­bers of the Bronco fam­ily plus the 13 mem­bers that have been scarred both men­tally/phys­i­cally and in­jured for life,” it reads.

“Fur­ther­more, as much as this sounds crazy, we ap­pre­ci­ate his re­morse and the fact that we’ve saved our fam­ily and all the Bronco fam­i­lies plus those in the com­mu­nity of Hum­boldt the wa­ter cooler talk, the video im­ages of the crash site, the in­tri­cate de­tails that are pri­vate to the fam­i­lies and sur­viv­ing vic­tims of this crash and a po­ten­tially long and ex­haust­ing trial. Thank you very much for your time, and we ap­pre­ci­ate all your kind­ness, thoughts and prayers for our fam­ily and all the fam­i­lies as we all con­tinue to search for our ‘new normal.’”

Boulet said he and his wife Ber­na­dine are plan­ning to be in Melfort for “some part” of the sen­tenc­ing hear­ing, set to com­mence on Jan. 28. They are writ­ing a vic­tim im­pact state­ment, as are some of the other fam­i­lies in­volved, although they are not yet sure if it will be read.

He also agrees with Evan Thomas’s fa­ther, Scott, re­gard­ing the ac­tual sen­tence time.

“The sen­tence to me doesn’t mat­ter as much — the fact that Mr. Sidhu pled guilty to­day (Tues­day) to save us all what we don’t need to go through. I’ve said all along that he was ei­ther do­ing some­thing or didn’t do some­thing he knew he wasn’t sup­posed to do or not do. And there­fore, he’s guilty. He ad­mit­ted to that to­day (Tues­day) in court and he is re­morse­ful. I’m happy with that. What­ever hap­pens next, hap­pens next.”

Boulet also pointed out Tues­day’s el­e­ments in­volved the crim­i­nal case. Fam­i­lies have two years from the date of the in­ci­dent to file a civil law­suit, with one al­ready do­ing so.

“I don’t know where the Boulets stand on the civil law­suit,” he said. “There’s no ben­e­fit to us, other than find­ing out ex­actly what hap­pened or didn’t hap­pen. Fam­i­lies are al­lowed to opt in or opt out. We haven’t made our de­ci­sion. Some fam­i­lies have for­given him (Sidhu), but we’re not at that stage of our lives yet.”

HER­ALD PHOTO IAN MARTENS

Toby Boulet, whose son Lo­gan died af­ter the Hum­boldt Bron­cos bus crash, speaks with re­porters fol­low­ing Tues­day's guilty plea by the trans­port truck driver in­volved in the col­li­sion.

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