97 vehicles in 400 pileup

(Updated)Sudden snow squalls were blasting much of Southern Ontario Thursday. It happened in Hamilton just before 10am — a blast of wind and a wall of snow — could be seen and heard in homes and businesses across the city. And if you were on the road, you were in it. One moment of a blinding wall of snow resulted in several crashes — one involving almost 100 vehicles on highway 400.A massive crash occured on the highway in Innisfil just south of Barrie. Environment Canada had issued a special weather statement warning that blowing snow would be a hazard to drivers during the morning commute — and weather is believed to have played a role in this crash. There are reports that as many as 96 vehicles were involved in the pile-up. Amazingly, there were no major injuries.This crash forced police to shutdown the 400 in both directions. And this is a very busy stretch of highway – with more than 80 thousand vechicles using the 400 each day.There is a part reopening of the highway so far. It was closed from hwy 9 north to Mapleview from here in Barrie. It has been opened northbound from highway 9 to highway 89. All southbound lanes are still closed.We understand that the OPP are still removing debris from that area and checking to see it the highway is safe. There has been extensive guardrail damage as can be imagined with almost 100 cars involved. They are trying to get some equipment involved to try and repair those guardrails.It may be a couple of hours yet before it’s opened southboundOnly 3 people were taken to hospital. But there was hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage. We asked people involved what it was like when it happened?“The eeriest feeling was when we had the impact and we stopped, hearing the cars that were banging behind. We could hear the cars in the back. That was the worst feeling.”“Running into the white out, you don’t know whether to keep your speed and maybe run into somebody or drop your speed and maybe get hit by somebody else. So when it cleared I saw a car and I hit and that’s where I stopped.”“He was driving and it was just a whiteout and everyone stopped and he stopped he didn’t hit the car in front of him but the car behind him hit him and three other cars hit him and so yeah, just chain reaction.”Sgt Dave Woodford is with the OPP. “I think a lot of people when they saw the snow squall come in they did slow down and put their four way flashers on because were seeing by the severity of the injuries. It was bad. You couldn’t see two feet in front of you.”There are still strong winds and whiteouts in Barrie this evening.People were pleased at how fast the OPP were on the scene and how fast the buses were there to take the people involved to warmth at Georgian Downs race track. They had tables set up with OPP officers to take crash information or to provide hot food or beveridgesThey’ve practised this scenario several times but it’s the first time they’ve put it into practise on such a large scale and they are pleased at how it worked out today.

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