The family of one of the junior hockey players killed in a crash involving the Humboldt Broncos team bus has filed a lawsuit.
Russell and Raelene Herold, the parents of Adam Herold, the youngest victim of the Humboldt Broncos accident, have filed a civil suit against the driver of the semi and the trucking company involved in the crash, and the bus manufacturer that made the coach the players were travelling on.
“We think of Adam all day, every day. We are reminded of our loss everywhere we turn and would do anything to go back in time to the way we were. Grief, worry, guilt, anxiety and loss have taken over our lives as we continue to mourn and try to deal with this tragedy,” the Herold family said in a statement.
“No family should have to go through what we are enduring. Our family loved each other, supported each other and did everything together – that’s what families are supposed to do,” the statement continued.
“Adam’s death has taken this from us and we hope that by pursuing this legal action, no other family ever will have to experience the excruciating grief and profound sense of loss that has overtaken our lives since April 6. ”
It also lists as defendants the Calgary-based trucking company that employed Sidhu, Adesh Deol Trucking Ltd., as well as the bus manufacturer.
Allegations contained in the lawsuit have not been proven and no statements of defence have yet been filed in court.
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The lawsuit alleges that Sidhu received two weeks of driver training and, on his first time driving the route, failed to stop at a stop sign before hitting the bus.
In the claim, the parents allege that the death of their son has caused them “emotion distress severe, intense, of long duration and has physically manifested itself in a manner that Russell and Raelene are not as productive and they suffer anger, guilt, loneliness, sadness, worry and anxiety that is manifesting itself to be physically and mentally unhealthy for each parent.”
The claim calls for a judge to make declaratory orders that the intersection of Highway 35 and Highway 335 is unsafe, and that the sightlines at the intersection are not safe for vehicles travelling north on Highway 35.
The claim also seeks a court declaration that all coach buses carrying sports teams in Saskatchewan be equipped with shoulder harnesses, and other safety devices, namely early warning devices.
The parents are asking for a court declaration that all semi drivers to take “strict safety tests” before they are allowed to haul two “Super B Trailers” — the kind Sidhu was pulling at the time of the accident — in the province.
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Sixteen people, including 10 players, died as a result of the crash and 13 players were injured.
Finally, the parents are seeking a declaration that the Automobile Accident Insurance Act and the Fatal Accidents Act be recognized as “antiquated” in that, according to the claim, neither provides adequate compensation for victims or families.
The claim specifically refers to compensation for funeral costs, hospital expenses, grief counselling and loss of earnings.
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In an emailed statement, Saskatchewan Government Insurance expressed sympathy for the family and victims of the crash.
“We have deep sympathy for the Herold family and all victims of this terrible crash. We regularly review the coverage provided under the Act, and the primary goal is always to consider improvements to better support those impacted by auto crashes,” SGI said.
While the claim makes no specific request for damages, it does suggest that Herold, a second-round draft pick of the Prince Albert Raiders, would have made the NHL, and that he had the chance to earn between $20-$30 million over the course of his career.
Ari Goldkind, a criminal defence lawyer in Toronto who is not connected to the lawsuit, said if it leads to changes that could prevent another tragedy, that would be important.
“Sometimes a conversation is started by a lawsuit, you may have other manufacturers of buses look at their standards, look at their safety, look at things that they can do to make their buses more safe,” Goldkind told Global News.
“When I look at yellow school buses, when half of them don’t have seatbelts for our most precious commodity – children – or coach buses, carrying the team and all of the workers on that bus, the idea that there aren’t seatbelts or some other safety system, that’s an interesting conversation to be had.”
Goldkind said these are the same conversations that have enacted changes to impaired and distracted driving laws.
“If it makes the roadways any safer, the same way we try with impaired driving laws, distracted texting laws, anything that leads people in positions of power, or responsibility, to take a second look, to do something in a better practice way, I’m all for.”
Kevin C. Mellor, the lawyer representing the family has said they will not comment on the suit today. Russell Herold told Global News they plan to make a statement tomorrow.
-With files from The Canadian Press
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