Ottawa

1 dead, Hwy. 401 westbound closed near Kingston after major pileup

One person is dead and as many as 20 people have been injured in a Sunday afternoon crash on Highway 401 near Kingston, Ont., involving between 30 and 40 vehicles.

Between 15 and 20 people sent to hospital

Ontario Provincial Police closed a westbound stretch of Highway 401 near Kingston, Ont., on Dec. 1, 2019, after a major pileup. OPP say it involved between 30 and 40 vehicles. (Frédéric Pepin/CBC)

One person is dead and as many as 20 people have been injured in a Sunday afternoon crash on Highway 401 near Kingston, Ont., involving between 30 and 40 vehicles.

The crash happened just after 2:30 p.m., forcing Ontario Provincial Police to close the highway's westbound lanes from Joyceville Road to Highway 15.

In a statement to CBC News, Kingston General Hospital said between 15 and 20 people had arrived at the hospital, "most of whom have non-life-threatening injuries."

Frontenac Paramedics, the local paramedic service, later said they had treated 16 people at the scene — including three people with life-threatening injuries.

Investigation will take 'some time'

Frontenac OPP Const. Curtis Dick told CBC News that one person had died in the pileup, which involved at least one tractor-trailer. The person's name has not been released as next-of-kin were still being notified.

"We don't know the exact cause of [the pileup] yet. That's going to be a part of the investigation. We do have our traffic collision investigators — there's two [who] are going to be here for a period of time," Dick said from the scene of the crash Sunday evening.

"It will take some time for them to go through the scene, given the sheer number of vehicles."

As of 8 p.m. ET, the highway's westbound lanes were still closed. Dick said the lanes would not "realistically" reopen until Monday morning.

Frontenac OPP Const. Curtis Dick had said the westbound lanes of Highway 401 would not 'realistically' open until Monday morning, due to the sheer number of vehicles involved in the crash. (CBC)

Travel advisory in place

Stranded motorists not involved in the collision are being taken to a warming centre at the Rideau Heights Community Centre by Kingston Transit buses, police said.

Dick said people whose vehicles had to be towed to clear the scene should contact Frontenac OPP Monday morning to find out where they'd been taken.

The Kingston area is currently under a winter travel advisory, with as much as 15 centimetres of snow expected to fall along the shores of Lake Ontario by Sunday evening.

There were reports of heavy snow in the area at the time of the crash, said OPP spokesperson Bill Dickson.

An Ontario Provincial Police vehicle is parked near the scene of a major crash on Highway 401 on Dec. 1, 2019. One person died in the crash, which involved as many as 40 vehicles. (Frédéric Pepin/CBC)

Gas leak

Kingston police were also dealing with a gas leak after an afternoon collision at Princess and Macdonnell streets, a crash that Sgt. Steve Koopman said was also likely weather-related.

Koopman said the leak would probably take several hours to repair. 

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