Avneet Sidhu, the daughter of Sarbjit Kaur Sidhu, speaks to those attending a candlelight vigil in memory of her mom and two other women who died in a crash of a van carrying farmworkers in March 2007. The vigil was held Saturday at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

Candlelight vigil held for 3 female farmworkers killed in 2007 crash

Event held Saturday at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium in Abbotsford

Three female farmworkers who were killed in a crash in Abbotsford on March 7, 2007, were remembered at a candlelight vigil on Saturday.

The event took place at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium in Abbotsford and was hosted by the BC Federation of Labour.

Sarbjit Kaur Sidhu, Amarjit Bal, and Sukhvinder Kaur Punja were killed when the van they were travelling in flipped on Highway 1 near the Sumas Way exit.

Despite carrying 17 passengers, the van had just two seatbelts, one seat consisted only of a wooden bench, and its tires were in poor condition and not properly inflated.

Police at the time described the crash as “catastrophic.”

The driver of the van, Harwinder Gill, did not face criminal charges, but later pleaded guilty to driving without reasonable consideration and without a proper licence.

He was ordered to pay $2,000 and was given a one-year driving ban.

A coroner’s inquest into the deaths in 2009 produced 18 recommendations to better improve safety for farmworkers.

The three women – and other farmworkers – are also memorialized in the Golden Tree monument that is located in the International Friendship Garden outside Clearbrook Library.

RELATED: Eight years after crash of van carrying farmworkers, struggle for safety continues

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