A police constable at today's cleanup scene of a Brinks tractor-trailer crash in northeastern Ontario that spilled nearly $5 million in Canadian coins says he felt as if he were "walking on a carpet of loonies and toonies."
The crash happened Wednesday around 4 a.m. ET on Highway 11 near Kirkland Lake. The Brinks truck hit a rock cut, seriously injuring the driver and the passenger. The passenger is now in hospital in Sudbury, and the driver has been taken to a Timmins hospital.
South Porcupine Ontario Provincial Police Const. Marc Depatie said the force of the crash tore open the truck.
"The tractor-trailer was travelling at highway speeds when it left the roadway and struck the rock cut," Depatie said.
"The rock cut … acted as a can opener and peeled the side off of the trailer. The load, travelling at highway speeds — and then coming to a sudden stop — was effectively catapulted for hundreds of metres from the scene."
That load resulted in a "serious debris field" that police, Brinks personnel and contractors hired for cleanup had to sift through. An industrial magnet has been used to help in the cleanup. Once the coins are collected, they will be taken to a secured location in Timmins. Off-duty OPP officers have been hired to help Brinks staff ward off any potential coin scavenging in the area.
Crash caused chain reaction
Depatie said the experience has been somewhat surreal.
pretty much like walking on a carpet of loonies and toonies, sometimes ankle deep," he said.
The coins belonged to the Canadian Mint and were destined for the Canadian marketplace.
Police said highways have been reopened in the area, after being closed for several hours.
Depatie said visibility could have been a factor in the accident.
The crash also caused a series of chain-reaction collisions that involved a minivan and two other tractor-trailer units.
One of the tractor-trailer units was carrying candy, which was also strewn across the crash site, according to Radio-Canada reporter Frederic Pepin, who was at the site.