Pileup Involving 60 Vehicles on Ontario Highway Leaves Eight Hurt

Pileup Involving 60 Vehicles on Ontario Highway Leaves Eight Hurt

News Jan 26, 2013

A haze of red brake lights, barely visible in a whiteout, was the first sign of trouble ahead seen by an off-duty paramedic driving home Friday afternoon.

The second sign, seen by his mother in the passenger seat, was a driver going in the opposite direction, hanging out of his window, flailing his arms and warning westbound motorists on Hwy. 401 to slow down.

In front of them were at least 60 snarled vehicles piled up in a chain-reaction accident that left at least eight people injured. Ontario Provincial Police said three people were in critical care at Lakeridge Health in Oshawa and one was rerouted the trauma centre at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

"I have never seen anything that big. My initial reaction was an overwhelming feeling that there would be quite significant injuries," said the paramedic, Matt, who did not want his last name published.

He got out of his SUV to help and found three other motorists trapped in their damaged vehicles. "I couldn't do anything for them except to tell them to remain in their cars, they were crumpled so badly," he said, adding that the only injuries he saw were minor.

"As we were let out, I did see the original accident. The damage was quite extensive to those. It was mostly front end damage from hitting each other," he said.

The accident happened around 3 p.m., about 80 kilometres east of Toronto.

Ontario Provincial Police went from car to car, checking for injured people on the closed 10-km. stretch of highway between Newcastle and Newtonville, said Aaron Lazarus, spokesperson for Lakeridge Health.

The cause of the crash has not been officially determined, but OPP Const. Linda Wolf notes there was fresh snow and poor visibility. Paramedic Matt said he was on his way home from a shopping trip in Port Hope when the weather suddenly turned foul.

"It was snowing just a little at first. Then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, it just went white," he said.

Continue Reading

About 50 motorists got out of their vehicles and offered help. "I didn't have a coat on and a complete stranger gave me a sweater," he said, adding that others provided blankets to those trapped in their vehicles.

Several busloads of people were transported to Newcastle Community Hall to fill out paper work and speak with collision investigators.

At about 7:30 p.m., tow trucks started removing smashed-up vehicles, gradually opening up a route for the backlog of traffic. The OPP said eastbound lanes were expected to open at 10:30 p.m. Friday and westbound lanes were to open at midnight or 1 a.m. Saturday.

Dennis Deeley, of Bowmanville, was en route home from his cottage in Brighton when he got stuck near the Newtonville Rd. exit. "As soon as traffic stopped, I reset my odometer. I've moved 1.2 km in three hours," he said. For the first hour and a half, traffic never moved at all, he said, as his 13-year-old greyhound, Ellie, slept in the back seat.

Deeley said the road was slick from the weather - "just glazed with ice, so it's good we're not moving quickly."

Cole Janetas, 16, was returning home to Whitby after high school in Port Hope when he got stuck in traffic in a school bus with 55 of his peers.

"We got a pretty good view of what's going on and, wow, I've never seen anything like this before. There's a bunch of cars sideways, upside down, twisted, it's crazy," he said. "We're kind of going insane to be honest with you ... we're really hungry, I had a bunch of protein bars and I ate them and I'm all out."

With files from Alex Nino Gheciu, Alyshah Hasham and The Canadian Press

Copyright 2013 Toronto Star Newspapers Limited

The Toronto Star
Crestline Coach attended the Eighth Annual Saskatchewan Health & Safety Leadership conference on June 8 to publicly sign the “Mission: Zero” charter on behalf of the organization, its employees and their families.
ImageTrend, Inc. announced the winners of the 2017 Hooley Awards, which recognize those who are serving in a new or innovative way to meet the needs of their organization, including developing programs or solutions to benefit providers, administrators, or the community.
Firefighters trained with the local hospital in a drill involving a chemical spill, practicing a decontamination process and setting up a mass casualty tent for patient treatment.
Many oppose officials nationwide who propose limiting Narcan treatment on patients who overdose multiple times to save city dollars, saying it's their job to save lives, not to play God.
While it's unclear what exact substance they were exposed to while treating a patient for cardiac arrest, two paramedics, an EMT and a fire chief were observed at a hospital after experiencing high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, and mood changes.
After a forest fire broke out, students, residents and nursing home residents were evacuated and treated for light smoke inhalation before police started allowing people to return to their buildings.
AAA’s Stars of Life program celebrates the contributions of ambulance professionals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to their communities or the EMS profession.
Forthcoming events across the country will provide a forum for questions and ideas
The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) has released its 2016 Annual Report summarizing HCOHSEM’s challenges, operations and key accomplishments during the past year.
Patients living in rural areas can wait up to 30 minutes on average for EMS to arrive, whereas suburban or urban residents will wait up to an average of seven minutes.
Tony Spadaro immediately started performing CPR on his wife, Donna, when she went into cardiac arrest, contributing to her survival coupled with the quick response of the local EMS team, who administered an AED shock to restore her heartbeat.
Sunstar Paramedics’ clinical services department and employee Stephen Glatstein received statewide awards.
A Good Samaritan, Jeremy English, flagged down a passing police officer asking him for Narcan after realizing the passengers in the parked car he stopped to help were overdosing on synthetic cannabinoids.
Family and fellow firefighters and paramedics mourn the loss of Todd Middendorf, 46, called "one of the cornerstones" of the department.
The levy is projected to raise about $525,000 per year, and that money must be spent only on the Othello Hospital District ambulance service.