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Police in Ontario have now identified 2 of 3 people killed in fiery highway crash

national post 2017-11-08 22:33:05

COOKSTOWN, Ont. — Ontario Provincial Police say they have now identified two of three people killed in a fiery pileup on a highway north of Toronto.

Police say the coroner has identified a mini-van driver who was killed in the 14-vehicle crash on Halloween night as 41-year-old Michael John Landry of Oshawa, Ont.

OPP had earlier identified 37-year-old Benjamin Dunn of North Bay, Ont., who was driving one of the two fuel tankers involved in the collision, as one of the victims.

Const. Lauren Ball said Wednesday that investigators were still working to positively identify the third victim.

OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt has said the intensity of the fire was making it difficult for the coroner’s office to officially identify those who died in the crash.

A fireball was visible for kilometres, after a tanker truck collided and exploded on Highway 400 around 11:30 p.m. north of Bradford, Ont. on Tuesday October 31, 2017. Paul Novosad/Postmedia

Police say the collision happened on Highway 400 near County Road 88 in Cookstown, Ont., when at least one truck slammed into vehicles slowing in the area because of an earlier collision.

Two fuel tankers spilled thousands of litres of fuel on the road and the impact caused a fireball that sent motorists running for their lives.

OPP commissioner Vince Hawkes, who just days before had sounded the alarm about fatal collisions caused by distracted truck drivers, said the collision could have killed many more people.

“It’s a miracle that we don’t have 25 bodies down there,” Hawkes had said.

Hawkes put the trucking industry “on notice” late last month, citing three recent collisions involving large commercial vehicles that killed a total of six people.

The Ontario Trucking Association has said the industry is committed to road safety, noting that there has been a 66 per cent decrease in the fatality rate from large truck collisions between 1995 and 2014 despite a 75 per cent rise in large truck vehicle registrations.

A multi-vehicle crash north of Toronto had commuters running for their lives after fuel spilled on the highway and ignited, police said on Wednesday, November 1, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov