Extremely icy conditions cause huge highway crash near Whitewood, Sask.

Crash involving 5 semis, 1 SUV shut down Trans-Canada Highway for more than 3 hours

A very icy stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway kept the Whitewood Fire Department busy as it dealt with three separate crashes in the same spot from Monday night to early Tuesday morning.

The largest crash involved five semi-trailer trucks and an SUV and happened just before 3 a.m. CST. While no one was hurt, the sheer size of the crash meant the highway was closed for about three-and-a-half hours as crews removed debris from the road.

“I don’t know if it was just the way the wind was blowing onto the highway throughout the day, but it was almost like a sheet of curling ice where it was solid ice and then it was pebbled on top,” said Whitewood Fire Department deputy chief Chris Ashfield. 

“It threw your vehicles around.”

Ashfield said the first two crashes were single-vehicle rollovers. He said the last one happened after a semi-trailer lost control on the road and was hit by a second truck, causing a chain reaction.

The deputy fire chief said even the department’s fire trucks were having difficulty navigating the icy sections.

“When we were arriving on scene, we were aware it was icy, because we’ve been out there three times, obviously,” he said.

“But even the last time when we were trying to stop, a couple of times the trucks were still sliding. It was that icy.”

Tow truck drivers were busy at the site of the crash. (Whitewood Fire Department/Facebook)

Despite the large number of vehicles involved, no one was injured in the crashes.

The Trans-Canada was re-opened to traffic by 6:40 a.m. CST. Ashfield said two of the semi-trucks remained in the ditch, waiting to be rescued by tow trucks.

Whitewood is located 175 kilometres east of Regina.