By P. Palak
Toronto, Ontario -- February 28, 2014 -- The field of vision for drivers in southern Ontario was severely compromised when a massive snow squall blew through the area, resulted in several multi-vehicle collisions.
Highway 400 near Barrie saw a 96 vehicle pileup around 9 a.m. on Thursday, due to low visibility brought on by the sudden snow squall. The Ontario Provincial Police have confirmed that three people were hospitalized with minor injuries, and one death has been reported.
Drivers were unable to see anything beyond a few metres which forced them to move at a lumbering pace. Officers had to saw a metal guardrail to pieces to create a passageway, enabling the stranded drivers to leave the crash scene. Warming buses were on site, due to the drop in the temperatures, which went below -20C. Those who couldnâ€™t drive away were taken to the OPP Collision Centre via Barrie city buses. Paramedics were seen treating several minor injuries.
Highway 400 was shut down in both directions from Highway 89 to Mapleview Drive. The closure continued well into the afternoon and evening, with lanes restored around 8:45 p.m.
Similar accidents were reported in other parts the region. The OPP disclosed that there were pileups in Port Perry, Dufferin County and on Highway 89 between Cookstown and Alliston.
At the same time as the Barrie crash, the death of one person was reported at a collision near Sarnia. Fifteen to thirty vehicles were revealed to have been stuck in the pileup near Oil Heritage Rd. and Highway 402. The victimâ€™s identity has not been released by the officials.
These are not the first multi-vehicle accidents seen in southern Ontario this week. The 401 through the Northumberland region experienced a large multi-vehicle involving eight tractor-trailers, closing all the eastbound lanes of the 401 between Cobourg and Grafton.