One person is dead after provincial police say an excavator hit a road sign on the QEW in Hamilton, causing it to fall and crush a passing vehicle.
The excavator was hauling a piece of equipment and being driven up the highway toward a construction zone near Nikola Tesla Boulevard, says OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt. That’s when police believe its arm hit the sign, causing it to collapse.
There’s nothing the driver could have done to avoid the sign, said Schmidt.
“This is something I’ve never seen, particularly with it collapsing down onto traffic, killing an occupant. A very tragic circumstance here,” he said.
“Really the driver had no opportunity to react and respond. It happens in a second. You’re travelling at highway speed and all of a sudden they’re presented with debris and a sign falling right on top of their vehicle.”
A 46-year-old man from Toronto who was behind the wheel of a vehicle that was hit was pronounced dead at the scene, said Schmidt.
Provincial police initially said the victim was from Niagara Falls, but in a tweet just after 9 a.m. Tuesday stated that he was actually from Toronto.
OPP were called to the scene around 12:50 a.m. Photos shared by police showed a heavily damaged SUV-style vehicle with its roof and front end completely crumpled.
A yellow excavator could be seen beneath the overhead sign, which was lying across the roadway that was covered in debris.
Fatal collision: #QEW Toronto bound at Nikola Tesla Blvd: An excavator in a construction zone struck an overhead road sign causing it to collapse and fall onto the roadway striking a passing vehicle. The 46 year driver from Niagara in the car was pronounced dead. pic.twitter.com/A3Njm1LqoA
— OPP Highway Safety Division (@OPP_HSD) April 27, 2021
“These are very strong, robust signs, but when a heavy piece of machinery collides into it, causes it to buckle and collapse, it loses its structural integrity and unfortunately the entire sign collapsed down onto he highway,” said Schmidt.
The highway is closed as police investigate the collision and crews work to remove the excavator and sign.
The Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Transportation have also been notified, said Schmidt.