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Coteau-du-Lac accident: Highway 20 eastbound shut

  • A gravely injured truck driver was removed from the wreckage of his tractor-trailer cab near Coteau-du-Lac about 7:30 a.m. Thursday.
    A gravely injured truck driver was removed from the wreckage of his tractor-trailer cab near Coteau-du-Lac about 7:30 a.m. Thursday.
    Photo credit: John Mahoney/The Gazette

A gravely injured truck driver was removed from the wreckage of his tractor-trailer cab near Coteau-du-Lac about 7:30 a.m. Thursday, Sgt. Gregory Gomez del Prado of the Sûreté du Québec said.

He said he couldn’t confirm or deny one media report that the driver had perished.

Eastbound traffic on that section of Highway 20 had been shut at 4:30 a.m.

Before it can be restored, Gomez del Prado said, accident-reconstruction experts will have to complete an on-site investigation.

“We’re trying to reopen the highway as quickly as possible,” he added.

The driver was transported to a hospital in Valleyfield, the SQ spokesperson said, and life-saving measures were being taken when he was removed from the wreck.

Any declaration of death would have to be made by a doctor, Gomez del Prado said:

“No doctor has declared him dead.”

The accident took place about 4:30 a.m. on a stretch where highway work was being done.

Traffic headed in the direction of Montreal was still being rerouted onto Highway 338 at 8 a.m.

Video broadcast from a TVA helicopter hovering over the site showed the morning jam was extensive.

“We don’t have his age” or place of residence, Gomez del Prado said of the truck driver.

“We are in fear for his life,” SQ Sgt. Christine Coulombe had said earlier.

The accident, near Valleyfield west of Montreal Island, took place about 20 kilometres into the Quebec side of the border with Ontario.

It also involved two other vehicles.

Early details remained skimpy. One of the latter vehicles was part of a road crew collecting cones from the highway when it was struck, according to Gomez del Prado.

“That was the third vehicle” involved, he said. “Nobody was injured in that vehicle.”

That section of the highway has two lanes in each direction.

Five people collecting cones suffered minor injuries injured, Gomez del Prado said, and were treated on the scene.

He said investigators will try to determine the speed at which the tractor-trailer was being driven, and whether restricted-speed signs had been posted.

 janr@montrealgazette.com

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