Close to 80 vehicles pile up on 401 at Newcastle
A vehicle was left wedged under a transport in the 80-vehicle pileup at Newcastle on Hwy. 401 on Jan. 24. PETE FISHER/Northumberland Today/QMI Agency file photo
Witnesses say it’s a miracle more people weren’t injured after close to 80 vehicles piled into each other during a white out on Canada’s busiest highway.
Shortly before 4 p.m. on Friday, vehicles started colliding into one another on Highway 401 westbound just east of Mill Street in Newcastle.
At least two people had to be extricated from their vehicles by firefighters.
Reports say one suffered critical leg injuries and the other was trapped in her vehicle after it became wedged underneath the back of a transport.
Adam Price was on his way home from skiing in Quebec to Collingwood when his Volvo became wedged under a transport.
"It was a whiteout and not really much I could do," said the volunteer firefighter.
"There was virtually no visibility and in five seconds at the most there was nothing I could do."
Standing by his crumpled vehicle he admitted it hadn’t sunk in yet how lucky he was.
"I’m very fortunate, I know that," Price said.
When he slammed into the transport the roof of his car was torn back and he climbed out unscathed where the sunroof used to be.
People sat in their cars waiting for tow trucks to arrive to take them to a safe and warm location.
Police officers took information from the drivers as they patiently waited for help to arrive.
Durham transit and a GO bus was due to arrive to take the people to a safe location in Newcastle.
At least five people were taken to hospital.
The driver of a 2011 Camero said as soon as he saw the brake lights in front of him he slowed down and stopped safely in front of a truck that was jack-knifed, but was hit four times by other vehicles.
One driver was on his way from Gananoque to the Liberal convention in Toronto.
"It was snowing so hard I couldn’t see anything so I slowed down and then all of a sudden there were trucks everywhere."
After pulling safely to the shoulder of the road, the man was rear ended from behind by another truck, forcing his vehicle to collide with another parked vehicle in front of him.
The force of the impact pushed the other vehicle onto to the front hood of the man’s car.
Crumpled cars and transports were scattered for approximately one kilometre east of Mill Street in Newcastle.
There was no time frame when the road would be re-opened as investigators were being called to the scene.