Hwy. 144 between Onaping and Dowling reopened after fatal crash that killed two
Highway 144 between Onaping and Dowling has been reopened following a fatal crash that killed two people Thursday. The road was reopened after being closed for about 12 hours, Ontario Provincial Police said.
It happened just before 5 p.m. near Marina Road and involved three vehicles: a sports utility vehicle (SUV), pickup truck, and commercial vehicle.
"Preliminary investigation indicated that the SUV was traveling northbound on Highway 144 and collided with a northbound pickup truck while passing. The SUV then collided with the southbound CMV," OPP said in a news release Friday morning. "The SUV became engulfed in flames, which was later extinguished by Greater Sudbury Fire Service. Both the driver and passenger of the SUV were pronounced deceased at the scene while the driver of the CMV and pickup truck did not receive any injuries."
Technical crash investigators, coroner's office and the forensic pathology team are helping with the investigation.
No word on the cause of the crash.
That area of Hwy. 144 was the subject of a protest in August of this year. Residents were concerned about the safety of that stretch of road and want the Ministry of Transportation to rebuild the road in the area to make it safer.
Protesters had the support of Nickel Belt MPP France Gelinas.
"Some of the (protest) signs will say ‘are you going to wait until one of the locals is seriously injured or died in an accident before you fix that stretch of road,’" Gelinas said in August. "They are afraid for themselves, for their families, for their children."
She also pointed out that there is no alternative road into Onaping Falls, meaning that when a collision closes down the road, many residents are stuck for hours waiting to get home.
"We know this is a dangerous stretch. We know how to fix it. Let’s give those people peace of mind, and every traveller – we’re talking thousands of people who travel 144 – let’s give them a safe highway," Gelinas said.
The OPP made a mistake in the length of the road closure in the first news release and has since corrected it. Highway 144 was closed for 12 hours as initially reported by CTV News, not five hours.