Police accuse man, 38, of drunk driving in Highway 20 crash that killed road worker, badly injured 5

A Transports Québec worker was killed late Friday night, and several others injured, when a vehicle crashed into a highway work site in the West Island.

Suspect's blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit, SQ alleges

A driver crashed into a group of Transports Québec workers on Highway 20 Friday night, killing one and injuring nine. (Radio-Canada)

A Transports Québec worker was killed late Friday night, and several others injured, when a vehicle crashed into a highway work site in the West Island. 

Quebec provincial police arrested a 38-year-old man. They allege his blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit.

The suspect was expected to make a court appearance Saturday afternoon, where police said he could face as many as 16 charges, including impaired driving causing death and impaired driving causing bodily harm.

Police said the man's vehicle crashed into an SUV in the lane next to him, forcing it into a group of road workers on Highway 20, near Dorval Circle, around 11:30 p.m.

A 44-year-old worker died instantly, police said. Nine others were taken to hospital, including five workers with serious injuries. The driver of the SUV, a woman in her forties, was treated for shock. 

Highway 20 has since reopened. The Sûreté du Québec is continuing its investigation of the crash.

A 44-year-old worker died instantly, police said. Nine others were taken to hospital, including five workers with serious injuries.

Safety issues raised

On Saturday, the president of an association of road sign workers said the crash heightened ongoing safety issues with work sites. 

"We expected this to happen one day, and now it has," said Jean-François Dionne, president of the l'Association des travailleurs en signalisation routière du Québec. He said the workers were repairing potholes at the time of the crash. 

While Quebec's workplace health and safety board (CNESST) has guidelines for roadway work sites, Dionne wants better laws surrounding the protection of roadway workers.

He said on the Highway 20 site, as per the guide, there were Transports Québec vehicles parked on the outside of the site to protect the workers and proper signs warning motorists were set up.

Dionne also wants Transports Québec to circulate ads urging caution near work sites year-round, instead of only during the warmer months, when the bulk of road work is conducted.

The Transport Ministry issued a statement saying it offered its condolences to its employees and the worker's family, as well as "a thought for the injured."

"Workers' safety on construction sites is a priority for the ministry," it said.

"Today, more than ever, the ministry reiterates that its road workers are vulnerable and it is essential that road users show increased vigilance next to work sites," the statement said.

With files from Radio-Canada