At least 30 vehicles involved; minor injuries reported
One of at least 30 vehicles involved in a series of collisions on the Highway 11 northbound lanes Sunday afternoon, just north of Highway 93, is towed from the scene. There were no serious injuries during the string of fender benders, but the northbound lanes were closed for several hours and southbound lanes were slowed to a crawl. Road conditions were slick at the time of the crashes along with blowing snow. IAN MCINROY/BARRIE EXAMINER/QMI AGENCY
ORO-MEDONTE TWP. - OPP say charges are pending in a 30-vehicle pileup on Highway 11 south of Line 1 of Oro-Medonte Township that brought northbound traffic to a halt for several hours, just north of Barrie, Sunday afternoon.
"There's so many vehicles involved that the officers haven't been able to specify anything yet," Barrie OPP Const. George Silvestri said.
Police, the Oro-Medonte fire department and Simcoe County paramedics were called to the scene of the collision at 12:45 p.m., but it's still unclear what started it.
Road conditions were slick at the time and visibility was reduced due to blowing snow. There were several vehicles in the ditch of the southboud lanes as well.
These types of accidents are typically a result of cars travelling too fast for the road conditions, with the wind and blowing snow, Silvestri said.
"What usually happens is one vehicle runs into another and then, because of the limited visibility, they just keep running into each other," he said,
At this point, the extent of the damage to the vehicles involved is unknown.
Minor injuries have been reported.
"A couple of people were treated at the scene for cuts and bruises," Silvestri said. "One person was taken to hospital with minor cuts."
Orillia resident Bill Easley and his wife Cathy were travelling home from Toronto when they got stuck in the gridlock behind the accident.
"If we'd been another 30 seconds to a minute down the road, we'd have been in it," said Easley, who estimates at least 100 to 200 cars were held up.
The Easleys, who were sitting about 200 metres back from the crash, watched as emergency services and tow trucks rushed up right shoulder of the highway to the scene.
Traffic was rerouted via Highway 400 north and Old Barrie Road.
Vehicles were turning around in the northbound lanes and going south to get off at County Road 93, Easley said, adding police were telling drivers they could be hit with a $490 fine for driving the wrong way on the highway.
"It was pretty messy there (Sunday)," Easley said.
Silvestri said the investigation into the accident is ongoing and charges are pending.
The northbound lanes of Highway 11 were closed from County Road 93 to Oro-Medonte Line 2 and traffic was rerouted via Highway 400 north and Old Barrie Road while tow trucks cleared the scene.
The northbound lanes of Highway 11 reopened shortly before 4 p.m.
A LIST OF PILEUPS IN OUR REGION:
- Jan. 21 2011 - A 22-year-old woman was killed in a mutli-vehicle pileup that involved at least 40 vehicles just south of the Line 9 overpass in the southbound lanes of Highway 11 in Oro-Medonte.
- Feb 20 2009 - A multi-vehicle crash on Highway 400 north involving a tractor-trailer sent one driver to a Toronto hospital by air ambulance. The truck heading north near Highway 88, lost control and plowed through the median, striking a northbound Volkswagen Jetta and forcing it into the ditch. The tractor-trailer then hit a southbound Chevrolet Astro van, then a Ford Explorer and sent them spinning into the ditch, as well. A Toyota pickup truck then hit the out-of-control tractor-trailer in the southbound lanes.
- April 19, 2008 - An elderly Toronto couple are killed when the tailgate of a dump truck smashes through their windshield in a pileup.
- Jan. 20, 2008 - Whiteout conditions cause a string of collisions between Innisfil Beach Road and County Road 88. OPP said at least 100 vehicles were involved in numerous collisions.
- Nov. 2, 2007 -One man dies and four other people are taken to hospital after a series of crashes involving six vehicles south of Barrie
- Jan. 20, 2008 - At about noon 29 people were injured when 37 vehicles slammed into or slid into or side-swiped each other on Highway 400, near County Road 88. There were dozens of other crashes on a 30-kilometre stretch south of Barrie. The 400 was icy, snowy in spots.
- Nov 3 2007 - One man is dead after a series of crashes involving six vehicles on Highway 400 south of Barrie. Four other people were taken to hospital.
- March 2007 - Whiteout conditions caused about 75 vehicles to pile up on both sides of the 400.
- Aug. 31 2006 - Flying debris from a truck turned Highway 400 into a bumper car track. Metal debris fell off the truck, causing an eight-vehicle crash in the northbound lanes between Bayfield and Dunlop streets.
- Aug. 16 2004 - A five-car crash closed the southbound lanes of Highway 11 near Oro-Medonte Line 2 and one woman was taken to hospital with minor injuries, and traffic was snarled far out of sight behind the crash scene.
- Jan 17 2004 - An eight-vehicle crash closed a section of Highway 400 for five hours after a driver lost control of a vehicle in the highway's southbound lanes, near the Sunnidale Road overpass. Icy roads are being blamed for the chain-reaction collision, which included a tractor-trailer jackknifing.
- March 19 2003 - A string of collisions involving 250 vehicles on Highway 400 caused by heavy fog making for zero visibility at times.The majority of injuries were not life- threatening, but a 65-year-old Craighurst man suffered second degree burns. Besides the scores of cars, SUVs and pickup trucks that littered the highway after the thick fog finally lifted, there were six large trucks and a cube van, as well as one school bus carrying high school students. None of the students were injured.
- Feb. 13, 1999 - Blowing snow and slick roads turned Highway 400 into a wrecking yard. About 30 people were injured, six seriously;
- April 5, 1996 - A blizzard wreaked havoc on the highway. More than 40 vehicles were involved in accidents, mostly between highways 88 and 89. Seven people were injured;
- March 3, 1996 - Police and emergency workers faced a 30-car pileup. Blowing snow and whiteout conditions were to blame for the crash. Miraculously, there were no injuries;
- April 4, 1995 - A freak winter storm that blinded motorists drew 76 vehicles into a twisted mess, injuring 36 people. Four people in two vehicles were killed. Both sides of the highway under Sunnidale and Anne streets were simultaneously transformed into wrecking yards.
- March 18, 1973 - One of the country's worst highway accidents at the time occurred just south of Barrie caused by a freak spring storm claimed 12 lives.