Ontario highway cleared after millions in coins spill
Published Thursday, March 29, 2012 8:19AM EDT
Traffic was flowing again along a snowy stretch of northeastern Ontario highway on Thursday following a tractor-trailer crash that spilled millions of dollars in silver- and gold-coloured coins across the road.
Road crews and police officers spent an entire day clearing the mess of new Canadian coins after a fully-loaded Brinks tractor-trailer crossed the centre line on Highway 11 north of Kirkland Lake, slamming into a rock cut early Wednesday morning.
The impact began a series of collisions involving another two tractor-trailers, one containing a load of candy, and a minivan.
The Brinks truck was carrying nearly $5 million in uncirculated loonies and toonies, which spilled across the stretch of Trans-Canada Highway like a glittering carpet of pirate booty.
OPP Const. Marc Depatie said highways were re-opened late Wednesday night after the majority of coins had been cleared from the scene.
"We still have officers attending to the scene security, given that there are a significant number of coins still that have to be reclaimed," Depatie told CTV News Channel in a telephone interview from South Porcupine, Ont.
"All in all, the highway has been re-opened so the Trans-Canada Highway traffic flows are back to normal."
Footage of the crash scene showed a dusting of snow on the road on Wednesday, which was littered with twisted metal, cardboard currency boxes and the mangled wreckages of three trucks.
Piles of loonies and toonies that spilled from their plastic casings filled the roadway.
"When I first attended the scene it was like walking on a carpet of loonies and toonies. It was a little surreal," said Depatie. "In terms of scale and value of cargo and overall uniqueness, this occurrence certainly stands out."
A local contractor pitched in during the cleanup by providing OPP with an industrial-strength magnet, which collected the coins en mass.
Depatie said the coins, which were "contaminated" by road salt and the elements, will have to be treated before they are allowed into circulation.
The driver and passenger in the Brinks truck sustained serious, life-threatening injuries in the crash.
One was taken to Bingham Memorial Hospital in Matheson and the other to the Kirkland Lake District Hospital. Both remain in hospital, with what the Ontario Provincial Police called life-threatening injuries.
The drivers of two tractor-trailers involved in the crash were treated for minor injuries and released and the minivan driver escaped unscathed.