Vehicle Rollover Closes Highway Lanes in Ontario

A single vehicle rollover on a highway in southeastern Ontario on March 11 sent a 69-year-old woman to the hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, officials said.

Footage released by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Highway Safety Division shows the scene of the incident in Newtonville. The vehicle is propped against the median wall of eastbound Highway 401 after leaving behind a long trail of debris and tire marks.

“Had that wall not been there, this could easily have been a head-on collision with traffic coming toward them at full speed,” Sgt Kerry Schmidt said in the video. “Then the injuries would have been potentially far more serious than what we’re dealing with here right now.”

All eastbound lanes were closed and expected to reopen by 2 pm, according to the OPP. Credit: Ontario Provincial Police Highway Safety Division via Storyful

Video Transcript

- So this is Highway 401 eastbound. I'm on the eastbound side of the highway. We have a full closure in place. 401 eastbound at Mill Street due to a single vehicle rollover collision. It's up against the median wall here, and you can see EMS used Jaws to cut out the driver and open up the space so they could extricate the driver inside. A 69-year-old woman has been taken to hospital with serious injuries. They're not expected to be life-threatening.

And we have our OPP reconstruction team on scene right now going through the evidence. You can see the debris field all the way down the highway here. This is where the vehicle ended up, but really what investigators are more interested in is what brought us to this location. And if you look way in the distance, you'll see pylons all the way across the right shoulder, gravel shoulder, down into the ditch, and then arcing back across all lanes of traffic, coming to its final rest here.

That's where it came to its final rest. You can also see some scrub marks, glass, and debris all across the highway. And all these scrub marks are touchdown, contact points, where the vehicle was tumbling and rolling as it was going down the highway. You can even see tire scrub marks, and this is what they'll use to place the vehicle in its positions when it was rolling down the highway.

So you can see both the wheels there. That'll give you an idea of the wheelbase. And the vehicle continued to tumble down the left shoulder, protected from that wall, and prevented from going into the eastbound lanes. And had that-- had that wall not been there, this could easily have been a head-on collision, with traffic coming towards them full speed. And then the injuries would have been certainly, potentially, far more serious than what we're dealing with here right now. Again, you can see some of the touchdown marks here as well. And then the way the vehicle arcs back towards the shoulder. It's coming towards me at this time here.

Now all highway traffic is being diverted off at Mill Street. There is a ton of traffic and congestion going up the 35/115 up to Highway 2, and then over to the third concession as well. So all those options are going to be congested as traffic is trying to get around this area. Fortunately no delays here on the westbound side of the highway, but you can see here the vehicle's path of travel as it was down into the ditch, in a rota-- in a bit of a rotation.

You can see the red, yellow, green, and blue pylon markings indicating the different wheels. And typically your front wheels will track right on top of the rear wheels. They'll be overlapping. But when a vehicle is in rotation, you'll start to see them diverge and as they rotate, that's what gives you this arcing motion before the vehicle ends up tumbling, tripping over its wheels and ending up on its side. It tumbled several times.

If there are any witnesses out here that have information, certainly like to speak to them. I'm told the injuries are non-life-threatening, but still serious. Waiting for final updates from the hospital. Meantime, our closure reconstruction team are on scene here doing their work. And I am told we should have all lanes reopened sometime around 2 o'clock this afternoon. Appreciate everyone's patience as they navigate the delays, and I'll update you if I get any more information. Thanks.