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 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 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 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

VIDEO: Tim Hus performs at Ponoka long-term care facilities

Direct Energy pop-up concerts hope to raise spirits

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Champion horse gets Hall of Fame nod

Willy from the Donalda Cassidy stable to be part of 2020 Canadian Pro Rodeo HOF inductees

COVID-19 recovered cases continue to rise in Alberta

69 more recoveries Tuesday, bringing the total to 6,048

Hockey Canada cancels summer camps, going virtual with training camps

Hockey Canada cancels summer camps, going virtual with training camps

NHL awards regular-season trophies for season cut short

NHL awards regular-season trophies for season cut short

Tam: NHL proposal being ‘reviewed,’ mandatory quarantine remains in place

Tam: NHL proposal being ‘reviewed,’ mandatory quarantine remains in place

Connor McDavid on NHL format: ‘Not perfect, but it’s the best we got’

Connor McDavid on NHL format: ‘Not perfect, but it’s the best we got’

Boston Marathon cancelled for 1st time in 124-year history

Boston Marathon cancelled for 1st time in 124-year history

Cash Exodus: COVID-19 pandemic could accelerate shift to cashless, experts say

Cash Exodus: COVID-19 pandemic could accelerate shift to cashless, experts say

Feds look for exit amid talks with Quebec on keeping military in care homes

Feds look for exit amid talks with Quebec on keeping military in care homes

Trudeau, allies call for global unity at UN summit on pandemic recovery

Trudeau, allies call for global unity at UN summit on pandemic recovery

Most Read