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24-Year-Old Truck Driver Charged After Striking, Bringing Down Overhead Sign on Highway 401

A 24-year-old truck driver has been charged for ramming and bringing down an overhead sign on Highway 401 on Jan. 6, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) said.

On the morning of Jan. 6, OPP Sergeant Kerry Schmidt said the Whitby police were investigating an overhead sign collapse that blocked all lanes on the westbound side of Highway 401 near Brock Street, causing “heavy delays” to the traffic.

Footage provided by the OPP shows the sign lying across the highway, completely blocking off traffic. Heavy equipment was brought in to remove the sign off the road. At around 11 a.m. ET, the police said traffic was moving again.

Schmidt said in an update at around 10 a.m. that a truck collided with the sign and part of the crossmember, causing it to “buckle and collapse.” He also said a witness has identified the truck and its driver who was driving westbound with his box up, which collided with the sign.

The driver reportedly stopped about 100 yards from the collision, stepped out of his vehicle to lower the box, and “was last seen exiting at Brock Street in Whitby.”

“We know who you are. We’re coming for you right now. We are on our way,” Schmidt said. “It would be probably better if you called the OPP right now and advised exactly where you are and where we can best meet up.”

Hours later, Schmidt said the truck had been located at a trucking yard.

“This is a dump-style trailer that is able to extend and lift to dump its load,” he said in a video.

The collision had left marks on the truck itself, Schmidt said, pointing to a damaged ladder of the vehicle where it likely struck the overhead sign, and blue paint stain transferred from the sign.

Schmidt later said in an update that the incident was a result of the truck driver “crashing into the overhead sign with his vehicle’s dump box in the raised position.” The truck driver, who is not identified, is facing three charges: careless driving, failing to remain at the scene of an accident, and having an overheight vehicle.

“Thanks to the tips that came in from witnesses that reported seeing a truck strike that sign, Whitby OPP were able to locate the vehicle as well as the driver,” Schmidt said. “Without your help, without your assistance in making this investigation move forward, we would likely not be at this place right now.”

At around 4 p.m., the police said the lanes near the crash site on Highway 401 have reopened.

Andrew Chen

Andrew Chen is an Epoch Times reporter based in Toronto.

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