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A piece of asphalt smashed through the windshield of this Ford Escort, causing a collision and killing the Escort's driver. ((CBC))

A man died Tuesday after being hit in the face by a chunk of asphalt that crashed through his windshield as he was driving on Highway 5 in Gatineau, near where a Quebec Ministry of Transport crew was doing road work.

Following the impact at about 8 a.m., the man's Ford Escort crashed into another vehicle and then the median on the divided highway near du Mont-Bleu and St-Joseph boulevards.

The man, who was about 40 years old,was sent to Gatineau hospital, where he died. He had not been identified as of late Tuesday afternoon.

Police are trying to determine where the asphalt came from, said Quebec provincial police spokeswoman Mélanie Larouche, who estimated the chunk was about the size of a paperback novel.

She added that Ministry of Transport workers were working about 300 metres away from the collision site.

"So we think the piece of the asphalt can come from there," she said.

Investigators believeanother carhit the asphalt, blowing a tire and sending theasphalt flying, Larouche said.

Marcel Lapointe, spokesman forQuebec's Ministry of Transport, would not confirm whether the ministry's crews were on the road at the time of the crash.He said the ministry is co-operating with the investigation.