Ottawa tow operator struck on Highway 417, in critical condition

Ottawa, Ontario — August 27, 2015 — An Ottawa-based tow truck driver suffered life-threatening injuries after he was struck by a vehicle on Highway 417 Wednesday afternoon.

The Ottawa Citizen reports the 45-year-old operator with Johnny’s Towing was responding to a two-vehicle crash on the highway’s eastbound lanes near Palladium Drive when he was hit by a passing vehicle at around 4:45 p.m.

Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) say the third vehicle then crashed into one of the cars involved in the first collision.

According to paramedics, the tow truck driver was unconscious and sustained severe multi-system trauma with head and abdominal injuries. He was transported to hospital just before 5 p.m. and remains in critical condition.

The passing vehicle’s driver and front seat passenger, both 19-year-old women, and the 30-year-old male occupant of the parked vehicle they hit were transported to hospital and treated for minor injuries.

Two eastbound lanes of the highway were closed for several hours following the incident. Police reopened the lanes at approximately 9:30 p.m.

OPP continue to investigate, with charges pending.

Effective September 1, Ontarians must obey legislation requiring motorists to slow down and move to an adjacent lane if possible when approaching a parked tow truck with its lights flashing. Tow trucks were recently added to the list of emergency vehicles protected under the province’s Move Over law, following the approval of Bill 31, the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act.

The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) estimates that at least 100 tow truck drivers are struck and killed annually in North America, according to the report.

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