Series of serious crashes in southwestern Ontario leads to plea from provincial police

A string of serious collisions over the last few days has Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) sending a heightened warning to drivers to not let their guards down during the summer months.

A chaotic 72 hours for West Region OPP began with a crash just outside of Woodstock on Sunday. A 30-year-old motorcyclist was killed in the head-on collision with a pickup truck.

Speaking with CTV News on Tuesday, OPP Acting Sgt. Ed Sanchuk said the first two days following the Canada Day long weekend have been concerning.

“Over the last 48 hours, OPP West Region, all the officers here in southwestern Ontario, have responded to approximately 113 crashes," said Sanchuk.

Early Monday morning a single-vehicle crash south of St. Marys sent six people to hospital, including four children, with non-life-threatening injuries.

A 34-year-old man now faces several charges including careless driving and driving without a license.

Sanchuk points to distracted driving as a troubling trend he’s seen on the roads lately.

“Stop being distracted by the radio, stop being distracted by passengers in the motor vehicle, or in some cases cellphones,” he said.

Early Monday afternoon in Oxford County, a car and SUV collided just north of Plattsville. The driver of the car was killed.

“I’m kind of at a loss for words because it’s very difficult to knock on a loved one’s door and say their family member is not coming home as a result of a preventable collision,” Sanchuk said.

In that same crash, three children and an adult were taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

“Even as a father, you get to crashes and you see children there and your heart just sinks down to your stomach,” said Sanchuk.

In Hensall, an SUV collided head-on with a bridge guard rail late Monday afternoon, killing the driver. He’s been identified as 48-year-old John Freeswick from Dashwood. Less than a week earlier, an eerily similar crash in Hensall killed 27-year-old Evan Dickins after he collided with a bridge just two concessions north of Monday’s crash.

"Some of the things we’ve seen in my career over the 23 years, I hope nobody ever sees in their lifetime and our officers are seeing more of that on a more regular basis,” said Sanchuk.

Police are making a plea to drivers to take their time and stay alert, offering one simple reminder.

“Nobody is invincible. Nobody is," said Sanchuk.