The pileup took place early this afternoon on Highway 15 south near Saint-Jacques-le-Mineur, approximately twenty minutes north of the Canadian border.
Montreal Hatzolah member Shmarya Plotkin said that he was driving back from New York when he first heard about the accident. Plotkin noted that high winds on the open roadway had him struggling to maintain control of his car as he traveled down Highway 15 earlier in the day, with vehicles swaying back and forth across the pavement.
Arriving on scene, Plotkin was greeted by a row of approximately 20 mangled cars and trucks and a pair of Orthodox Jewish young women who told him that a woman they knew had been involved in the accident and was taking shelter from the wind in their car. The woman’s car was badly damaged but she was only lightly injured.
The wreckage included a pair of cars sandwiched sideways between two large trucks. Both had crashed into the same truck, the occupants fleeing their vehicles just before a second truck barreled into them.
“There was a paramedic there who said it was a miracle that they survived,” Plotkin told VIN News. “The bumper of the second truck was in the driver’s compartment of the second car. If they had stayed in their cars, they wouldn’t have made it.”
Further along the accident site Plotkin saw a mobile home perched atop a minivan.
“The beds, the drawers, the clothing, the tools and even teddy bears were all over the highway,” said Plotkin. “It looked like someone literally dropped a house right smack in the middle of the highway.”
Plotkin’s attempt to take the injured Jewish woman to a nearby hospital as a precautionary measure took more than three hours because of a second crash that took place two kilometers away on the same highway. That collision involved six vehicles including a FedEx truck, a fuel tanker and a Hatzolah vehicle, leaving Highway 15 closed in both directions for several hours.
Looking at the extent of the damage to the vehicles, Plotkin said that he expected the injuries to be far worse than they actually were.
“As a Hatzolah member I have seen many things including car accidents,” said Plotkin. “But seeing so many cars crushed like soda cans, with trucks on top of them, and knowing that people walked away from this mess is truly unbelievable.”