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Trucker blew stop sign

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MELFORT, Sask.—Court has heard that a semi-truck driver barrelled through an over-sized stop sign with a flashing red light before the deadly Humboldt Broncos' bus crash.

An agreed statement of facts says Jaskirat Singh Sidhu was going between 86 and 96 km/h when he drove into a rural Saskatchewan intersection north of Tisdale last April.

The statement says the driver of the Broncos' junior hockey team bus hit the brakes and the bus skidded for about 24 metres before it T-boned the truck at an impact of between 96 and 107 km/h.

Crown prosecutor Thomas Healey said there was no way the bus driver could have avoided the collision.

The transport truck was fully in the intersection across all lanes of traffic.

“The driver of the bus recognized the hazard as quickly as possible,” Healey noted.

The statement said RCMP found no evidence that Sidhu had used drugs or alcohol or that he was distracted by a cellphone.

The weather and road conditions were good.

Sixteen people were killed and 13 others on the bus were injured.

Sidhu, 30, has pleaded guilty to 29 counts of dangerous driving. He was hauling a load of peat moss when his rig and the Broncos' bus collided.

Five days have been set aside for his sentencing hearing, which is expected to hear dozens of victim impact statements in a makeshift courtroom in Melfort, Sask.

An event centre is being used to accommodate all the families, survivors, and media.

Toby Boulet and former NHL player Chris Joseph both lost their sons and have said they will be submitting statements in court.

A safety review done for the Saskatchewan government was released in December. It said sight lines at the intersection are a safety concern and recommended removing a stand of trees obstructing the view of drivers approaching from the south and east—the same directions the bus and semi-trailer were coming from when they collided.

The owner of the Calgary trucking company that hired Sidhu also faces eight counts related to non-compliance with federal and provincial safety regulations in the months before the crash.

The Saskatchewan government has introduced mandatory training for semi-truck drivers which is to begin in March.

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