71-year-old was beaten by some members of wedding party, son says

andy clark/reuters and Headshots courtesy of Sher-e-Punjab Radio


The 1981 Chevrolet driven by Bachitar Singh Brar is towed from the spot where it hit several people taking part in a pre-wedding ceremony in Abbotsford on Friday. Five of the six people killed are, from left, Rubel Gill, Bhupinder Kaler, Rupdaman Dhillon, Satinder Mahil and Damanpreet Kang.

In his pickup truck driving home after working late in the cannery, driver Bachitar Singh Brar crested over a hill he had driven over hundreds of times and says he was shocked to find a large cluster of people walking in the dark.

Brar, 71, said yesterday he’s in mourning for the people who were hurt and killed in the accident. The horrific crash into a party of people participating in a pre-wedding procession left six people dead and 17 others injured.

The senior citizen told Sher-e-Punjab Radio of Richmond that he would like to tell the families how sorry he is. Brar told interviewer Gurvinder Dhaliwal that he had gotten gas on his way home from work canning blueberries and did not expect to see the large group of people walking in the dark.

His headlights were on, Brar told Dhaliwal, but he could not brake his white 1981 Chevrolet pickup truck in time. There are no skid marks at the accident scene.

Brar said he personally has not talked to the bride and groom’s families, but hopes they would give him the chance to meet them.

Three of the dead were from Toronto, two from Abbotsford and one from Dallas. Family and friends from all over North America were in Abbotsford to attend the wedding of Simne Mahil and Robbie Grewal in Mission.

The wedding went ahead Sunday with immediate family members in sombre attendance. Among those injured was the bride’s mother.

Although the driver played down his injury during his radio interview, his son told another radio station that his father was pulled out of his truck by some of the young men who were part of the wedding procession and beaten. In the interview, the younger Brar said his father’s eyes are swollen but he is not concerned about his own injuries but feeling grief over the accident.

Constable Casey Vinet of the Abbotsford police said investigators are going through the truck to check its mechanics.

It is possible that the driver had a pre-existing medical condition and his eyesight is being checked, he said.