oshawa 401 accident

Truck rollover spills groceries all over Highway 401

Ontario Provincial Police are reminding all drivers that "essential travel only" means "essential travel only" after a motorist on their way home from a friend's house caused a major crash on Highway 401 in Oshawa.

The motorist in question, who now faces a careless driving charge, is said to have veered across the westbound lanes of the 401 near Ritson Road South, just east of Toronto, on Monday night around 8 p.m., striking a large transport truck.

Police say the driver of the double tractor-trailer subsequently lost control. The truck flipped over the busy highway's median and landed across several eastbound lanes of the 401, forcing the shutdown of all eastbound lanes for several hours.

To make matters worse, the rollover caused the truck to spill part of its load on the highway — a load that consisted largely of food, toilet paper and other essential goods.

"The trailers were loaded with groceries and cargo and freight," said OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt in a live update from the scene just before 8:30 p.m.

"One of the trailers is compromised and has spilled part of its cargo onto the highway... there's also fluid, debris, some fuel that spilled as a result of this collision," continued Schmidt.

"The transport truck also struck a light standard and the light standard has been knocked over, blocking all eastbound lanes as well."

In other words, the crash created a giant mess — though, fortunately, nobody was injured.

The OPP's Highway Safety Division issued an additional statement on Twitter regarding the crash around 10:15 p.m. to reveal that the driver of the vehicle that hit the transport truck was being charged.

"Essential travel only!" reads the update. "Driver of car is facing a careless driving charge after returning from a friends house and causing a major crash on #Hwy401. As a result, essential goods will not make their destination. #StayHome #COVID19."

Images shared with the tweet show boxes of cereal, packages of toilet paper and other nondescript boxes of products lying on the ground, manged by the crash.

It took emergency responders and road crews more than 10 hours to get the scene of the incident cleared.

Two westbound lanes of the 401 near Simcoe Street reopened around 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, but it is not yet known how many essential goods were lost, damaged or discarded as a result of the crash.

"Horrible," wrote one Twitter user in response to photos from the scene. "A couple stores will be short some necessary delivery of goods tonight."

"Why was this person at a friend's?" wrote another. "Social distancing... please people! Now a huge accident!"

Lead photo by

OPP Highway Safety Division

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