The driver of a semi-tractor that collided with a school bus, killing a teenaged girl, was sentenced to six months in jail after pleading guilty to careless driving. 

Sukhdeep Deol was sentenced in an Edmonton courtroom on Friday. He will be on probation for two years after serving his time and is banned from driving for two years as well. 

On the morning March 7, 2018, Deol rear-ended a school bus north of Redwater on the morning of March 7, 2018.

Maisie Watkinson, 15, was pronounced dead on the scene.

"It will be difficult for the family moving on no matter the sentence that was imposed by the judge in this case," said Crown prosecutor Dallas Sopko.

Deol was initially charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and criminal negligence causing death. 

He began serving his six month term immediately, the longest allowable under the Traffic Safety Act. 

The sentence was agreed to via a joint submission from lawyers for Deol and the Crown. 


Heavy fog was reported in the area of Opal Road and Township Road 594 when the semi tractor truck slammed into the rear passenger side of the bus. 

The court heard the fog was thick enough for the bus driver to turn off his engine and listen for other vehicles before turning onto the road. 

There were 13 students on the school bus, which was bound for Thorhild Central School, at the time of the crash. 

The court heard how the weight of gravel in Deol's truck, coupled with the amount of wear on the vehicle's brakes, made the vehicle a risk to drive. 

The school bus driver, other students and Deol all escaped injury. 

Shortly after the collision, the school district superintendent, Mark Francis, called Watkinson's death “an immeasurable loss.”

"Thorhild is that small Alberta town where everyone knows everyone so a tragedy like this impacts the entire community,” Francis said in 2018.

"We have a grieving mom and dad and family, grieving neighbours and community, and grieving staff and students,” he said.

“This is a tragedy that impacts our community to its soul."