Fog, ice blamed for huge Ottawa highway pileup
'Amazing' there weren't more serious injuries: OPP
A pileup involving more than 60 vehicles on Highway 416 in Ottawa's south end was caused by icy roads and heavy fog, police say.
The pileup, which occurred at around 8 a.m. between Roger Stevens Drive and Bankfield Road, closed the northbound lanes on the highway for five hours.
Despite the large number of vehicles involved in the collision, only six people were injured, none of them seriously.
Four others were treated at the scene.
"That is very amazing, considering the amount of vehicles. One of the things that saved us is that we didn't have any tractor-trailers involved," said Ontario Provincial Police Const. Guy Prevost. "It was mostly SUVs, sedans and vans ... that's why we didn't have any major injuries."
A tractor-trailer was involved in a separate accident farther north on the highway later Monday morning. The southbound lanes were shut down near Fallowfield Road at 10:30 a.m. after the vehicle swerved off the highway and got wedged in the median.
The highway reopened northbound between Roger Stevens Drive and Bankfield Road around 1 p.m. and southbound less than an hour later, provincial police reported.
The northbound lanes were closed for five hours after dozens of vehicles collided or slid off the icy, foggy highway and overturned into the ditches alongside.
'Wall of cars'
Stuart Dean was driving through the fog along the highway Monday morning when all of a sudden he saw "a wall of cars" and noticed that both shoulders were blocked.
"So I just drove into the ditch, because I realized if I tried to stop any faster, I'd just get hit in the back anyways," he said.
Everyone behind him ended up hitting other vehicles, he recalled. "It built up very fast."
Dan Mateer, who had been driving in a van with eight other people, managed to avoid any collisions.
"Cars were going off [into] the ditch around us, upside down, and it was bad," he said. " We were lucky, we missed everybody."
There were at least two separate pileups, each involving dozens of vehicles, CBC's Steve Fischer reported from the scene.
One witness posting on the CBC website reported that the fog was so thick Monday morning that visibility was less than six metres.
She said about 14 cars had collided in front of her, and about four ambulances and several fire trucks had converged at the scene. A truck that collided with a car near the front of the pileup had ended up in a ditch, she reported.
"The car's front end was no more," she wrote.
Highway 416 connects Ottawa to Highway 401.