Truck driver charged after chemical spill closed Hwy. 400 near Newmarket
Published Friday, July 21, 2017 10:03AM EDT Last Updated Friday, July 21, 2017 6:31PM EDT
A transport truck driver has been charged with having an unsecured load after a crash on Highway 400 on Thursday that resulted in the spill of a flammable material.
The transport truck was involved in a collision north of Canal Road at around 1:30 p.m.
Sgt. Kerry Schmidt told CP24 on Friday that the collision itself was “relatively minor” but resulted in a spill that could have been deadly.
The highway eventually reopened at around 12:30 a.m. after the spill had been cleaned up.
“This was a highly flammable and highly dangerous chemical,” Schmidt said. “There were large totes of a flammable cleaning solvent that could have been very deadly had there been a spark. That was why there was an evacuation area round the perimeter which resulted in the highway closure.”
Numerous drivers took to social media on Thursday to complain about spending hours in gridlock on Hwy. 400.
Schmidt, however, said that only a few drivers were stuck in the closure itself. The rest, he said, could have avoided the closure had they been paying more attention to traffic conditions.
“I can tell you that the people that were trapped in the traffic congestion were not trapped in an area that we had closed or designated as an exclusion area. Those were all cars that had approached the area to the closure and were stuck in the congestion as they were being forced off the highway,” he said. “Planning ahead is a huge thing. I know you had the immediacy of social media complaining but I also would have wished that people would have been listening to their local traffic outlets and media. People could have avoided this mess in the first place and never even gone down the highway.”
Schmidt said that the investigation into the collision is continuing and that more charges could be forthcoming.
"We want to remind everyone, especially commerical drivers, you are responsible for the contents of your load and making it secure is one of the first things you have to do before driving down the highway," he said.