Their Sons Died in a Sports Tragedy. They Reacted Differently

Scott Thomas and Chris Joseph lost their sons, Broncos hockey players, in 2018 crash
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2022 12:24 PM CDT
How 2 Fathers Responded to an Unthinkable Sports Tragedy
   (Getty Images / JohnAlexandr)

(Newser) – The first half of Mitch Moxley's searing story for Esquire on the deadly April 2018 bus crash that killed 16 people with the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team in Saskatchewan focuses on the crash itself and immediate aftermath. Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, a sober and inexperienced semitruck driver who was hauling about 100,000 pounds of peat moss, says he was distracted by a flapping tarp on his trailer. He missed five signs warning of a stop ahead and sped through the intersection. The Broncos' team bus was unable to stop in time and "was ripped in three pieces" from the impact, writes Moxley, "its front obliterated and everything above floor level sheared off. ... In an instant, dozens of lives on the bus and beyond were ripped apart in one of the worst sporting disasters in North America in nearly fifty years."

The second half looks at two of those "lives beyond": that of Scott Thomas, who lost his son Evan, and Chris Joseph, whose son Jaxon died. Thomas became the public face of forgiveness, and advocated for Sidhu to be permitted to remain in Canada, though the law specified the permanent resident of Canada would need to be deported to India after his 8-year sentence was complete. Joseph occupied the opposite end of the spectrum, at one point saying, "The thing that would make me happiest—and it wouldn’t make me happy—is deportation. ... The law says he should be deported. Just the fact that he's fighting it shows he’s not remorseful enough." In March 2022, Sidhu's request was denied; he has one appeal remaining. (We encourage you to read the story in full.)

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