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One dead in Highway 69 crash (Update)

The collision involved a transport carrying cows, a snowplow, a minivan and transport carrying vehicles
Aftermath of a Highway 69 crash on Thursday night that resulted in one fatality and significant loss of property. Kenneth Armstrong/ Village Media

7:50 p..m. update

Ontario 511 is reporting the west bound lane of the the section of Highway 69 just south of Harris Road between Britt and Point au Baril has been reopened.

Traffic control is present and allowing intermittent traffic through as of 6:40 p.m., it says.

West Parry Sound has also confirmed that the body discovered in the tractor trailer hauling cattle was that of the driver but police have not yet identified the driver.

Original story: 1:47 p.m. 

The West Parry Sound OPP has confirmed that a body has been located in the tractor-trailer that caused a four-vehicle collision on Highway 69 last night.

At around 9:20 p.m. January 28, a southbound tractor-trailer hauling livestock crossed the centre line and struck the blade of a northbound plow truck, then a northbound minivan, and a northbound tractor-trailer hauling vehicles.

Both tractor-trailers struck a rockcut and were engulfed in flames.

“I can confirm that we just located a body within the tractor-trailer that was hauling the cows, and he is deceased,” Const. Zénobie Loach of the West Parry Sound OPP told this morning.

“That's as much as we know about the individual. We just wanted to make sure there was something there before we started to say there was someone deceased.

“He'll be sent to the Centre of Forensic Sciences in Toronto, and they'll be able to find out the identity of the individual from there.”

The drivers of the plow and the tractor-trailer hauling vehicles were both uninjured. The five occupants of the minivan suffered non life-threatening injuries. Some of the cattle being hauled on the tractor-trailer also died as a result of the collision, Loach said.

The incident occurred north of Harris Lake Road, in the Township of Wallbridge, in between the communities of Britt and Pointe Au Baril.

Loach said the tractor-trailer hauling cattle was driving in an area where the southbound portion of the highway had one lane.

“The plow, the minivan and the tractor-trailer hauling the cars, they were heading northbound, and they had two lanes,” she said.

“The plow was covering both of those lanes. Everybody was in behind him at a slow rate of speed. It all happened very, very quickly.”

The collision investigators have now left the scene, and tow trucks are removing the vehicles, Loach said.

The closed portion of the highway has to be salted and sanded before it's reopened. When asked if the road will be reopened before noon, Loach said she hopes so.

The highway is currently closed between Highway 124 and Highway 522, but detours around the closed portion of the road are available.

“The smaller vehicles are going around on Hwy. 529,” Loach said. “Otherwise the larger trucks are being rerouted on Hwy. 522 and coming around onto Hwy. 124, to go back onto the 400.”