Two dead, others seriously injured in 200 vehicle pileup south of Montreal: police

A fireman walks past a massive pileup involving numerous vehicles on the south shore of Montreal in La Prairie, Que. on Wednesday, February 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul ChiassonA fireman walks past a massive pileup involving numerous vehicles on the south shore of Montreal in La Prairie, Que. on Wednesday, February 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Firemen stand next to a demolished car following a massive pileup involving numerous vehicles on the south shore of Montreal in La Prairie, Que. on Wednesday, February 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul ChiassonFiremen stand next to a demolished car following a massive pileup involving numerous vehicles on the south shore of Montreal in La Prairie, Que. on Wednesday, February 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
A massive pileup involving numerous vehicles is seen on the south shore of Montreal in La Prairie, Que. on Wednesday, February 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul ChiassonA massive pileup involving numerous vehicles is seen on the south shore of Montreal in La Prairie, Que. on Wednesday, February 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Two people are confirmed dead in a crash that involved about 200 vehicles on Highway 15 in La Prairie south of Montreal, provincial police say.

The confirmation came from the Sûreté du Québec, which said the victims are two people who were trapped in the wreckage near a diesel spill.

Whiteout conditions likely triggered the massive pileup that sent a dozen people to hospital with minor to serious injuries.

The crash occurred around 12:30 p.m. on a stretch of the highway that runs along the St. Lawrence River. The pileup of vehicles extended for about a kilometre.

Transport Minister Francois Bonnardel said the pileup took place in an area where heavy winds come off the river, creating sudden blizzard-like conditions.

“People were driving, there were strong winds … and, suddenly, you couldn’t see anything,” Bonnardel said in Quebec City. “And then, well, the pileup started.”

Two snow removal operations took place in the area in the hour before the crash, he noted.

Bonnardel said the highway isn’t known for particular safety issues and 65,000 vehicles use the southbound part of it on a daily basis.

“No coroner’s report relating to winter viability (of the area) has been produced for at least 20 years,” Bonnardel said.

The transport minister said he’ll await the results of an investigation before deciding if any particular measures need to be taken.

Police spokesman Sgt. Stephane Tremblay said about 50 vehicles were able to drive away from the collision, but 75 others would need to be towed. Numerous vehicles were mangled, including several large trucks.

About 150 people were taken by bus to a nearby community centre for treatment and to be picked up.

Tremblay said police crash experts will study what caused the pileup.

A school bus was also involved, but none of the high school students on board were injured, said Andree Laforest, the province’s acting public security minister.

VIDEO: Snow leads to stranded cars, closed schools and chaos on Lower Mainland roads

Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

car crash

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta completed 18,412 COVID-19 tests, as reported on Wednesday, for a test positivity rate of 9.5 per cent. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Highest daily count of 2021 so far: Alberta reports 1,699 COVID-19 cases

Variants now make up 59 per cent of Alberta’s active cases

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and Premier Jason Kenney say the province would look at adding additional COVID-19 measures in the coming weeks if the virus continues to spread. (Photo by Government of Alberta)
Walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic to open in Red Deer

Alberta adds 1,345 new cases of the virus

Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and vacation bookings are being increased in B.C. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. announces signage along Alberta border to discourage non-essential travel

B.C. extends COVID-19 indoor dining, group fitness ban until May 25

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Alberta begins rolling out AstraZeneca COVID vaccine for those aged 40 or older

There are more than 70 pharmacies offering AstraZeneca, including 26 offering walk-in appointments

A lone traveler enters the Calgary Airport in Calgary, Alta., Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
VIDEO: Trudeau defends Canada’s travel restrictions as effective but open to doing more

Trudeau said quarantine hotels for international air travellers will continue until at least May 21

President Joe Biden holds a virtual bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
U.S. to help Canada with more COVID-19 vaccine supply, Biden says

The U.S. has already provided Canada with about 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Court TV via AP, Pool
George Floyd’s death was ‘wake-up call’ about systemic racism: Trudeau

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges against him

sign
Alberta Biobord Corp. recently hosted a virtual open house from Stettler

The company plans to develop a fuel pellet and medium density fibre board (MDF) plant near the community

The Rogers logo is photographed in Toronto on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Rogers investigating after wireless customers complain of widespread outage

According to Down Detector, problems are being reported in most major Canadian cities

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Nothing stopping provinces from offering AstraZeneca vaccine to all adults: Hajdu

Health Canada has licensed the AstraZeneca shot for use in people over the age of 18

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Most Read