Semi crash closes Trans-Canada Highway

Police closed eastbound lanes of the TransCanada Highway west of Headingley after an accident Thursday afternoon.
Eastbound lanes of the Trans-Canada highway near St. Francis Xavier, Man., were closed Thursday due to a serious crash. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

Police closed the eastbound lanes of the Trans-Canada Highway west of Headingley for several hours on Thursday, following a crash involving a fire truck and two semi trailers.

Reeve Roger Poitras of the Rural Municipality of St. Francois Xavier said a semi was parked on the shoulder with a fuel leak and the driver called the local fire department, fearing a fire.

A fire truck from the R.M. of St. Francois Xavier arrived at around 1:30 p.m. CT along with RCMP, said Poitras.

Police and fire crews deployed emergency cones as they closed one eastbound lane of traffic on the Trans-Canada, near the junction of Highway 26, to deal with the fuel spill, RCMP said in a release.

But about 45 minutes later, an eastbound semi hit the fire truck and the back side of the first semi.

"It's hard to understand how that accident could have happened with all of the lights and the cones and everything that were in place," Poitras told CBC News.

"I mean, you could see those lights from a mile away."

The impact of the collision tossed two fire personnel and one RCMP officer onto the ground. They were slightly hurt. The driver of the first semi, a 65-year-old man from Ontario, was not injured. 

An off-duty paramedic stopped and gave care to the driver of the second semi, a 29-year-old Steinbach man, who was later airlifted to hospital and was last reported to be in critical but stable condition.

The route fully re-opened to traffic at around 9:30 p.m.