Hwy. 401 reopens after 75-vehicle pileup

A multi-vehicle accident involving trucks and cars that has shut down Hwy. 401 in both directions...

A multi-vehicle accident involving trucks and cars that has shut down Hwy. 401 in both directions between Kingston and Napanee. (QMI Agency)

Mike Beaudin, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:31 AM ET

NAPANEE, Ont. ─ Ontario’s Hwy. 401 reopened Thursday morning after a crash involving roughly 75 vehicles shut it down Wednesday.

Hwy. 401 eastbound and westbound was closed between Hwy. 41 and Deseronto Rd., in Napanee, Ont., Wednesday after multiple crashes caused by strong winds and blowing snow.

One eastbound lane remained blocked at the scene of the Napanee crash Thursday. Traffic was moving through slowly Thursday morning, and police said there will be delays for awhile to come as cleanup continues.

There were roughly 75 vehicles involved, including 35 semi-trailers, according to a QMI Agency reporter at the scene. Debris from the cars and trucks were scattered on the stretch of highway and ditch.

Dozens of motorists were stranded along the highway.

Belleville, Ont., resident Ken Richards told QMI Agency he had to help carry one woman on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance after she was injured in one of the crashes.

“She was badly hurt. They got her out and I helped carry her across the median to an ambulance,” he said.

“They had her strapped to a stretcher and needed help getting her across so there were five or six guys plus a couple of paramedics who got her over.”

Richards, who abandoned his van around 8 a.m. after spending more than 90 minutes sitting in his vehicle, said he could see only cars, trucks and transports scattered across the highway ahead of him and toward the west.

Police haven’t released information about injuries or possible fatalities.

Const. Jackie Perry of Napanee OPP said a bus was taken to the scene to provide shelter for those motorists trapped along the highway.

“There's a lot of tractor trailers out here. The roads are very slippery and traffic is backed up because we're detouring,” she said Wednesday.

In Prince Edward County, OPP closed a section of Hwy. 62 Wednesday morning due to whiteouts. The highway remained closed for more than two hours before reopening with a warning to motorists that those whiteouts were still posing a threat to visibility.

Elsewhere, multiple crashes were reported Wednesday along Hwy. 401 from Maitland to Cardinal, causing delays and several minor injuries.

-With files from W. Brice McVicar and Don Wilcox


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