Andrea Stockton, staff writer
January 21, 2011 — A multi-vehicle pile-up near Barrie, Ontario Friday killed one woman and left several others injured.
A snowy stretch of highway between Barrie and Orillia blinded drivers Friday morning and claimed the life of one woman.
Camera operator Mark Rozitis was at the scene and said, “there are near blizzard conditions, high wind, snow and blowing snow on Highway 11 south, just south of 9th Line.”
A major lake effect snow squall hampered visibilities significantly as winds picked up in the Oro-Medonte Township.
“This snow squall came in very, very quickly and was accelerated by some very strong winds that were passing through the area, which resulted in zero visibility,” says Peter Leon, Provincial Constable with the Ontario Provincial Police. He says it was a chain reaction collision as 40 vehicles were involved. Several cars were damaged and a transport truck flipped over on its side.
The woman that was killed got out of her vehicle to assess the damage after the initial crash and was struck by another vehicle and killed at the scene.
Constable Leon said numerous accidents were reported throughout the day because of the treacherous conditions.
“Earlier this morning (Friday), we had about a kilometre south of this location a vehicle that went into the ditch, it was a transport truck, they were in the process of writing it and another snow squall passed through the area, which resulted in the second jack-knife taking place just north of that location and then just north again is where we had this multi-car pile-up which included close to 40 vehicles.”
Leon adds that when the weather conditions are significantly changing like they did on Friday, drivers need to be alert.
“We've experienced conditions where there's bright blue skies and sunshine one minute then zero visibility the next...Certainly when you're travelling in those type of conditions we recommend people reduce their speed if they can,” says Leon.
Snow squall activity is expected to weaken through the overnight hours, but some communities could see up to 10 cm of snow through Saturday.
With files from The Canadian Press