TORONTO — An excavator working in a construction zone near Burlington, Ont. struck an overhead road sign setting off a chain of events that resulted in a tragic death early this morning (April 27).
The sign subsequently collapsed onto the highway and crushed a passing vehicle, instantly killing the lone driver inside.
“At around 12:50 a.m. in the morning the OPP were called to the scene where a sign had collapsed after it was struck by a piece of construction equipment,” states a recording on the OPP Highway Safety Division’s Twitter account. “That sign collapsed onto the QEW striking a passing vehicle. The driver in that vehicle, a 46-year-old man…was pronounced dead at the scene.”
The incident occurred on the QEW Toronto bound near Nikola Tesla Blvd. in Burlington. Police say the victim is from Toronto.
“The collision itself happened as a result of this excavator,” reported Kerry Schmidt, with the Highway Safety Division of the OPP. “It was not on a trailer at the time. It was actually being driven by an operator enroute to a jobsite. It was hauling a piece of equipment and as it was travelling down the QEW the overhead arm, the boom, struck the sign causing it to buckle and collapse.”
The highway was closed for an investigation, sign removal and cleanup and morning traffic was diverted. The highway is expected to reopen later this morning.
“This is a very tragic set of circumstances,” said Schmidt, adding he has never seen an incident like this in his career.
“You would never expect something like this to happen. The driver had no opportunity to react or respond. It happens in a second. You are travelling at highway speed and all of the sudden they are presented with debris and a sign falling right on top of the vehicle. There is really nothing the driver could have done to avoid this.”
According to the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, the reported company involved is Eiffage General Contractors Canada operating as ICCI. Two MLTSD inspectors have been assigned and the investigation is ongoing.