OPP have identified the victim of a fatal three-vehicle crash on Thursday afternoon. Police say a 55-year-old man from Toronto was pronounced dead at the scene.
Two other male drivers, a 38-year-old and 58-year-old, suffered from minor injuries.
The Grenville County OPP shut down Highway 401 in both directions between Prescott and Maitland on May 3.
The OPP are currently investigating a motor vehicle collision involving two transports and one tanker-truck carrying petroleum. They say the crash happened somewhere around 1:30 p.m. on Thursday in the westbound lane.
OPP say the tanker carrying petroleum was ruptured spilling fuel all over the highway. The ordeal forced several people out of their homes as police were concerned about the potential danger of fuel sparking when they pried apart the vehicles.
Police say the cleanup job took until well past midnight, due to the gas spill.
The surrounding areas were gridlocked with extremely heavy traffic, trapping drivers on side roads for hours.
This deadly crash comes on the heels of another major crash in the same area of Highway 401 on Wednesday, which happened in the eastbound lane.
On May 2 around 6 p.m., the Grenville County OPP responded to a motor-vehicle collision on Highway 401, between Blue Church Road and Merwin Lane in Augusta Township.
OPP say a tractor-trailer carrying a flatbed load of steel rolls lost control at the construction site and struck a rock bed, located on the south ditch.
The impact of this collision caused the steel load to come loose and strike another transport, which caused the second transport to collide with two passenger cars.
The driver of the transport, carrying steel, was transported by Air ORNGE with serious injuries.
OPP say the second transport driver was transported to hospital with minor injuries, and the two passenger vehicle drivers did not sustain any injuries.
Two accidents in two days in the same stretch of highway
The Mayor of Prescott Brett Todd commented on both Thursday’s and Wednesday’s collisions, noting that both collisions occurred in an area of the highway that was under construction.
Todd first commented on Thursday’s tragedy, sending his condolences to the unidentified victim’s family.
“We’ve had a loss of life, that is foremost in my mind,” said Todd.
He then pointed to both crashes as urgent examples as to why a third-lane expansion was needed in the area.
He said he, along with other members of the Eastern Ontario Mayors Caucus, has been calling for a three-lane expansion for stretches of Highway 401 that only have two lanes.
“We need the province to take the three-lane expansion seriously, even if it’s just passing lanes to relieve some of the stress here,” said Todd.
The mayor wanted to ensure that he was not using this death to get political, but he believes these collisions are examples of the dangers that come with not allowing enough space on eastern Ontario’s main artery.
Todd said that the construction on Highway 401 might have had something to do with both crashes.
“It seems more than coincidental that we have these incidents at areas where the traffic narrows to one lane.”
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