By Veeno Dewan
Five years after three Abbotsford women were killed in a van crash, more than 100 mourners joined family and friends of the victims at a candlelight vigil at Thunderbird Memorial Square in Abbotsford to remember them.
Amarjit Kaur Bal, Sarabjit Kaur Sidhu and Sukhwinder Kaur Punia, all mothers, died as they were being transported to work with 14 other female farmworkers.
The horrific early morning crash on March 7, 2007 stunned the city and left a legacy of misery for the families of the dead women.
An investigation later discovered a slew of inadequate safety precautions. The subsequent coroner’s inquiry made several recommendations to make the 15-passenger transport vans safer for workers. These included having seatbelts for all passengers, appropriate driver’s training and regular certified safety checks for the vehicles.
In 2008, the driver of the van, Harwinderpal Kaur Gill pled guilty to driving without due consideration and driving without a proper licence, was fined $2,000 and banned from driving for a year. A memorial to the dead women is planned.