One dead, 28 sent to hospital in Highway 401 pile-up east of Toronto

Collisions involved about 30 vehicles

One dead, 28 sent to hospital in Highway 401 pile-up east of Toronto

Collisions involving about 30 vehicles on a highway east of Toronto left one person dead, sent 28 others to hospital and caused a chemical spill that prompted road closures on Tuesday.

Ontario Provincial Police said their investigation revealed there were two separate collisions that happened at about the same time on Highway 401 near Kingston, Ont., because of icy roads and blowing snow.

Const. Sandra Barr said the first collision happened in the westbound lanes at about 2 p.m. just east of Highway 137 and involved five tractor trailers and one car. The second collision was also westbound, about one kilometre away from the first, and involved seven tractor trailers and three vehicles.

Police said there were other crashes that then took place.

“There were multiple chain reactions after the fact behind those two collisions,” Barr said in a news release. “In the same vicinity on eastbound Highway 401 three other tractor trailers were reported to have collisions.”

Police said one of the transport trucks involved in the collisions was leaking a toxic substance, prompting the evacuation of the immediate area around it.

Barr said the driver of the truck was sent to hospital by ambulance, but succumbed to his injuries.

The first responders who came to the driver’s aid were sent to hospital for decontamination, she added.

Kingston General Hospital spokeswoman Meagan Quinn said 29 people were treated at the hospital after the collisions, including the one fatality.

Quinn said a decontamination bay was opened at the hospital for all those who were exposed to the chemical fluorosilicic acid.

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