A garbage truck that lost its wheels on the road helped trigger a multi-vehicle crash in Oakville early Tuesday morning, according to Ontario Provincial Police.

Traffic was snarled on Highway 403 and the surrounding area as police shut down the westbound lanes of the expressway at Dundas Street to clear to the accident scene.

The busy highway reopened at around 11:30 a.m. 

Police say the garbage truck, owned by Rexdale Disposal Ltd., was travelling west on Highway 403 at around 4:37 a.m. when it lost a wheel.

A limousine travelling behind the truck then struck the wheel. It suffered severe damage, but the driver wasn't hurt, the OPP said.

Asecond car -- a Subaru Forester -- also struck the wheel and rolled over, ejecting the male driver. The driver, who is believed to be a 23-year-old North York man, was rushed to the trauma center at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto with critical injuries via air ambulance.

He remains in serious condition as of Tuesday evening.

"I tried to keep talking to him, keeping him alert," said Desmond Lumzel, one of the drivers involved in the accident. He also called 911.

Meanwhile, the garbage truck continued to travel along the highway for about a kilometre until a second wheel popped off the truck.

Two more vehicles travelling behind the garbage truck struck the second wheel but no other injuries were reported.

"In the darkness I heard things coming at me but I wasn't too sure of where it was coming from," said Lumzel. "I was a little bit scared (about) that."

The accident scene stretched for one kilometre, according to OPP Const. Graham Williamson.

Police have not charged anyone in connection with the collision but authorities say it is still early in the investigation.

"In a case where a wheel has come off a vehicle and it has been determined that it's a maintenance issue, then both the operator and the owner of the vehicle are subject to charges," Williamson said. "The maximum fine goes up to $50,000."

Williamson said investigators are interested in speaking with witnesses to the crash.

Rexdale Disposal Ltd., the owner of the truck, couldn't be reached for comment.

With a report from CTV Toronto's Naomi Parness