OPP report death of civilian following incident on Highway 401

Backed up traffic on Highway 401 eastbound was diverted off of the highway at the Highway 15 exit in Kingston, after an incident on the 401 resulted in the closure of the eastbound lanes on Sunday, Apr. 7, 2024. Screenshot via MTO camera.

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are reporting the death of a civilian driver following an incident on the eastbound lanes of Highway 401 that shut down a section of the highway during an anticipated time of heavy traffic.

Just before 4 p.m. on Sunday, Apr. 7, 2024, traffic suddenly came to a crawl for those travelling on the eastbound lanes of Ontario’s busiest highway between the Joyceville Road exit to the east and the Highway 15 exit to the west – an area just at the northeast edge of the City of Kingston. Traffic then stopped, and a number of OPP vehicles were staged at the bottleneck holding up the traffic, seemingly around a single vehicle. While the incident appeared to be some sort of standoff or high-risk takedown of a suspect to those stopped on the highway nearby, some of those witnesses reported that the vehicle in question had been stopped by police before the conflict arose.

“Shortly after 3:30 p.m. on April 7, 2024, an officer conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle on the eastbound 401, east of the Highway 15 interchange,” the Frontenac County Detachment of the OPP said in a press release the following day.

The scene became a sort of clog in the pipeline of traffic destined for Kingston ahead of the total solar eclipse today, Monday, Apr. 8, 2024. One person was transported from the scene by ambulance, according to witnesses.

“The male occupant of the vehicle, a 34-year-old male from Brampton, was in severe medical distress. Officers attempted first aid and Frontenac County Paramedics rushed the man to hospital, where he was later pronounced deceased,” the OPP said.

“There was no foul play.”

According to the OPP, the investigation remains ongoing at this time, “in conjunction with the Office of the Chief Coroner.”

The eastbound lanes of Highway 401 were subsequently closed as police carried out the on-scene portion of their investigation, and were reopened just before 8 p.m., however, shortly after the closure, the backed-up traffic led to a collision. That collision was deemed minor in nature and no injuries were sustained.

According to the Ontario Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the organization was notified about the incident, however, “the SIU did not invoke its mandate due to a lack of interaction between the civilian and police,” Kristy Denette, a spokesperson with the SIU, told Kingstonist in an email.

In response to Kingstonist inquiries, Constable Robert Martell, Media Relations Officer for the Frontenac OPP, said he could not expand on the type of medical distress the driver was experiencing at the time of the incident.

Backed up traffic on Highway 401 eastbound (looking eastward) on Sunday, Apr. 7, 2024. Screenshot via MTO camera.

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