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70 Car Pileup in Foggy Conditions
Dec 14, 2009 | Views: 672
That's what it was like Monday morning on Highway 416 near Ottawa Ontario for some of the drivers involved in a 70-car pileup that closed the highway for five hours.
Despite the massive scope of the collision scene, only minor injuries were reported.
Reports of the big series of crashes began pouring in to OPP at about 7:30 a.m., not long after thick fog blanked out visibility.
Within minutes, it was chaos. Cars were on their sides, on their roofs and in the ditch.
OPP Const. Guy Prevost expected the outcome to be a lot worse when he arrived on the scene just before 9 a.m.
"We were very surprised in a good way -- a lot of people walked away from the collisions they had," he said.
It would have been a different story if there were tractor-trailers involved. "You put in a couple tractor-trailers and that would have changed the whole dynamic. We would have had major injuries, if not deaths, and we would have seen a lot more damage to cars," Prevost said.
Frank Fenn was one of the drivers surprised to find himself in the middle of the action. Fenn, the marketing director at Carlingwood Mall, said he was lucky that when he was rear-ended it was "just a little bump."
Trying not to hit anyone himself was a bit of an adventure, though. He said he had winter tires and kept a good distance between himself and the cars ahead, but he still counted himself lucky not to crash into anyone.
"Everybody seemed to be going off in all directions in front of me, so I didn't have much chance (to hit anyone)."
Shelley Polywkan was travelling south to Kingston and surveyed the wreckage from the other side of the divided highway.
"It was pretty phenomenal," she said. "It looked like something you'd see in a movie."
Polywkan said she snapped about 15 pictures, but only five turned out because the fog was so thick.
"The fog was pretty dense, you definitely didn't want to go fast because you couldn't tell what was ahead of you," she said.
Prevost said the cause of the crash is under investigation, but police don't expect to lay any charges.
"We're a bit perplexed as to what caused it," he said.
The crash kept Ottawa-area tow-truck operators busy. Prevost said drivers from every company he could name sent rigs to help clean up the mess.
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