highway 401 traffic sign blocked

Truck driver takes out overhead sign on Highway 401 and flees scene

A completely bizarre scene unfolded on the ever-busy Highway 401 just east of Toronto on Friday morning, when a transport truck driver travelling with their box up toppled an overhead highway sign and fled the scene.

Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Highway Safety Division media relations officer Sergeant Kerry Schmidt reported from the scene that the accident occurred on the "Highway 401 westbound lanes at Brock Street in Whitby."

"We have a sign that's down across the highway. All lanes are blocked obviously," says Schmidt, pointing out "the impact mark here on the sign where a transport truck collided with the sign and part of the cross-member here as well that caused it to buckle and collapse."

Schmidt explains that "crews are here right now getting ready to lift the sign and help some of this traffic that's trapped in the closure," and subsequent footage reveals that a mobile crane has been brought in to clear the blockage.

Westbound traffic is now forced to use the Thickson Road exit, though some vehicles past this exit remain trapped as crews rush to remove the toppled sign.

"We have a witness that has identified the truck," says Schmidt, adding that the truck was reportedly "driving westbound with its box up, it was like a scrap hauler."

"The driver stopped, just up the road here, about 100 yards, got out of his vehicle, dropped the box, and then was last seen exiting at Brock Street in Whitby."

"We know who you are. We are coming for you right now," says Schmidt, adding that the vehicle and driver have been identified, and urging the driver to turn themselves in.

UPDATE: as of 11:25 a.m., the OPP reported that traffic is once again moving along the stretch.

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