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

Sooke creates local business directory during COVID-19 pandemic

District’s community update asks residents for vigilance during crisis

Volunteers collect and deliver pet food across Greater Victoria during COVID-19 pandemic

Richard Hawkes has ‘food coming out of his ears’ and would love to help those in need

COVID-19 has been impacting Canadian economy since January

But full effects of pandemic won’t be known for months

Local grocers, Victoria Foundation raise over $30,000 for Food Rescue Project

Donation will go towards food insecure communities in region

Cycling advocates call for more pedestrian space, temporary bike lanes during pandemic

An increase in foot traffic means transportation needs to be prioritized, advocates say

First Nations, remote communities need special attention in pandemic, Freeland says

Health-care workers, seniors, Indigenous Peoples some of people most at risk, health officials say

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

Doctors trained abroad want to join front lines of COVID-19 fight in Canada

B.C. is looking to allow internationally trained doctors to work under the supervision of attending physicians

Fake test kits and other COVID online scams play on public anxiety: fraud centre

Vancouver has seen a spike in commercial property crimes, with offices and stores empty because of COVID-19

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Feds amplify stay-home message as cost of financial aid to Canadians mounts

Liberals have unveiled around $200B in direct financial aid and tax deferrals

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Most Read