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1 dead, 2 in hospital after 5-vehicle Hwy. 401 crash

One motorist is dead and two are in hospital after a five-vehicle crash on Hwy. 401 Friday morning in Southwold Township.

Crash closes eastbound lanes west of St. Thomas, where traffic is being diverted off the highway

According to Ontario Provincial Police, the crash involves four vehicles and lengthy delays should be expected. (OPP)

One motorist is dead and two are in hospital after a five-vehicle crash on Hwy. 401 Friday morning in Southwold Township. 

The eastbound lanes of Hwy. 401 are closed between Iona Road and Union Road as cleanup into the collision continues. Police say the closure could last into Friday evening, but eastbound traffic is being detoured off the highway.

"People can expect a prolonged closure of Highway 401," said OPP Const. Adam Crewdson. "The more vehicles you have, that compounds the investigation time." 

Police say of the five vehicles involved, two were tractor-trailers, one is a five-tonne commercial truck and two are passenger vehicles.

The crash happened at about 11 a.m. Friday as all five vehicles were traveling eastbound and merging into one lane ahead of a construction area.

Two people were taken to hospital: one by air ambulance, another by land ambulance. Both are in stable condition. 

Police say the person who died was a driver of one of the passenger vehicles. That person has not been identified. 

During the road closure, all eastbound traffic will be directed off the highway at Iona Road. 

The OPP are urging motorists to follow the Emergency Detour Route (EDR) signs to get back to the Highway 401 eastbound lanes.

Crewdson said drivers slowing down to look at the collision scene are causing problems.

"This is actually creating a road safety issue," he said. 

He said drivers should focus on what's going on in the lane in front of them, instead of slowing down to rubberneck, which he said could lead to secondary collisions.

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