Coast Mountain bus driver fined $1,500 for negligent driving in fatal accident
A Coast Mountain bus driver has been fined $1,500 for careless driving in an incident in which a co-worker was trapped between two buses, resulting in his death.
Mandip Kaur Sidhu, 47, was convicted of driving without due care and attention in Vancouver Provincial Court on Friday. She was charged in August 2022 and pleaded guilty earlier this month.
The charges and the verdict relate to a September 2021 incident in downtown Vancouver that killed fellow bus driver Charanjit Parhar, 64.
Summary of the facts
During the two-day sentencing hearing, Judge James Sutherland summarized the details of the incident, noting that the accident occurred while Sidhu was driving an articulated trolleybus eastbound on West Cordova Street shortly after 8:15 a.m. on September 27, 2021 . It was a route and type of vehicle she had driven many times before.
Sidhu stopped at a bus stop directly behind another bus with four-way indicators on.
Parhar went to her bus. He told her the bus had a mechanical problem. She assumed he would go to the back of his bus to fix the problem.
Sidhu’s bus suddenly accelerated into Parhar and his bus. She had testified that she was sure her foot had been on the brake pedal. Parhar’s bus was thrown forward at least five feet.
Parhar was pinned between two vehicles. He died of his injuries the next day.
‘Humble’ and ‘caring’ man
The judge noted that Sidhu is a single mother who has been driving school buses since 2007. She was hired by Coast Mountain in November 2020 and had a month and a half of training.
Sutherland noted that the conviction is “complex” but requires an “element of retaliation,” a legal concept that requires penalties to be based on the seriousness of the offense and proportionate to the harm caused by the offender.
“Ms. Sidhu poses no risk to the public even while operating a vehicle,” Sutherland said. “She had a near-perfect driving record, and it was a momentary inattention.”
He noted that Sidhu feels guilt, shame and remorse. She was diagnosed with PTSD and depression.
Sidhu apologized to Parhar’s family in court.
Parhar is survived by a wife and three daughters, and a friend said he loves to play with his grandchildren every weekend.
A union leader described Parhar as a “humble” and “caring” man who served for 21 years.
A TransLink spokesman said Sidhu is still employed by the Coast Mountain Bus Company, the transport agency’s bus company, but has been on furlough since the incident.
Parhar’s family declined to comment as they left the court.