Ottawa

Tractor-trailer driver dead after fiery crash on Highway 401

The driver of a tractor-trailer is dead and Highway 401 remains closed westbound near Gananoque, Ont., after the semi slammed into a stationary truck and caught fire, police say.

Eastbound lanes reopened, westbound lanes still closed from Thousand Islands Parkway to Reynolds Road, OPP say

A tractor-trailer struck a stationary truck on Highway 401 early Wednesday morning and then caught fire, leaving one person dead. 0:31

The driver of a tractor-trailer is dead and Highway 401 remains closed westbound near Gananoque, Ont., after the semi slammed into a stationary truck and caught fire, police say.

The fiery collision happened at about 5:30 a.m. ET Wednesday when the westbound tractor-trailer struck a parked safety truck about three kilometres west of Reynolds Road, according to Ontario Provincial Police.

The truck was sitting in the closed right lane of the highway at the time of the crash. Its arrow lights were flashing, and the vehicle was unoccupied, according to OPP Const. Sandra Barr.

The tractor-trailer then caught fire, requiring several fire departments to respond, police said.

OPP and others examine the crash site where a tractor-trailer driver died after crashing into a stationary safety truck on the closed right lane of westbound Highway 401 near Gananoque, Ont. (Giacomo Panico/CBC)
The driver, who was the lone occupant of the semi, died in the collision, police said. The identity of the driver has not been released.

The collision closed both eastbound and westbound lanes on the busy highway early Wednesday morning, though the eastbound lanes opened shortly after noon.

The westbound lanes are expected to remain closed until late into the evening with traffic detours remaining in place.

'Heavy rain' was falling

The cause of the crash is so far unknown but weather may have played a role.

"It could be a number of things. I'm told that there was weather at that point, so we have our technical traffic collision investigators that will attend the scene along with OPP reconstructionists," Barr said.

"From what I understand, at that point there was rain — a heavy rain, in fact, at that particular time."

Motorists are asked to avoid the area.