The 24-year-old driver of a truck that crashed into and subsequently brought down an overhead sign on Highway 401 Friday morning has been located and charged, Ontario Provincial Police say.
Officials said that just before 8 a.m., a truck collided with the sign on a stretch of highway near Brock Street in Whitby, causing it to “buckle and collapse.”
“You can see the impact mark here on the sign where a transport truck collided with the sign and part of the cross member here as well,” OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said in a video posted to social media shortly after the incident.
Images from the scene early Friday morning showed the sign lying across the highway, completely blocking traffic.
Schmidt said that according to witnesses, the driver of the truck stopped after striking the sign and got out of their vehicle before re-entering the truck and fleeing the scene.
In the hours that followed, police reviewed descriptions of both the suspect and the vehicle involved in the collision and issued a strong warning to the driver.
“We know who you are. We’re coming for you right now,” Schmidt warned. “It would probably be better if you called the OPP right now and advised exactly where you are and where we can best meet up.”
Hours later, Schmidt announced in a video posted to Twitter that the vehicle and the driver had been located.
Investigators could be seen measuring the height of the vehicle involved in the collision, which Schmidt said appears to be a “dump-style” truck that can raise and lower its trailer.
He noted that marks of damage could be observed on the truck itself, including what appeared to be blue paint which Schmidt believes is from the sign it struck hours earlier.
In an update, Schmidt said a driver from Brampton had been charged in connection with the crash and said the vehicle’s “dump box” was in the raised position at the time of the incident.
“Thanks to the tips that came in from witnesses…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.”
The driver, who has not been identified, is charged with overheight vehicle, fail to remain, and careless driving.
Westbound lanes between Brock Street and Thickson Road that were closed have since reopened.
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