Highway 40 Eastbound was blocked off on Saturday evening after an accident involving multiple vehicles occurred around 6:30 p.m. Two vehicles were destroyed and burnt. One of the two vehicles was upright and the other landed on its roof. Both were severely damaged with the make and model nearly unidentifiable. At least two other vehicles that were involved in the crash were also damaged.
In what appears to be a drag racing incident, which according to an MTQ agent on site has been an ongoing issue with warming weather, four people were injured and taken to hospital and one, 15-year old Veronica Gashi, died.
The MTQ agent told The Suburban that, “Her body was dragged across 200-300 meters of the highway.”. Two others were transported to hospital in critical condition. Other sources have reported that Veronica was in the car when it was hit. In both versions of events it was made clear that she was pronounced dead at the hospital to which she was taken.
Drivers were obliged to take the service road Saturday evening as multiple vehicles that were involved in the crash were still on the highway past 9:30 p.m. as officers continued to investigate the scene.
Two relatives of the victims arrived on site around 8:20 p.m. but could not offer any comments as they were set to meet with investigators.
Christian Liberale, a driver passing by, pulled to the side of the road moments after the accident occured in a heroic effort to save the victims of the crash. He managed, with help, to remove one of the victims who was stuck in the backseat of one of the vehicles while it was on fire. He managed to move the victim’s body a safe distance away from the vehicle moments before the vehicle burst into flames.
While there, Liberale took a series of photos where a group of young people can be seen holding and loading up a person into a vehicle. In a second photo with the time stamp a minute later, the vehicle that the person was loaded into, a black mercedes, was no longer there.
According to Surete du Quebec spokesperson, Anik Lamirande, one of the four victims whom she referred to as the principal suspect is presently in critical condition and may be facing charges of reckless driving causing death. “We cannot confirm this at this time, however when her health permits, we will interrogate her.” she told The Suburban.
“With the information we have at this time, it appears that speed was the primary cause.” Lamirande said.
According to Societe l’Assurance Automobile du Quebec (SAAQ) statistics, the category of persons aged 16-24 represents 14% of all road accidents while they are only 8% of Quebec driver’s permit holders. 54% of accidents involving persons in the age group of 16-24 were caused by speeding with 29% pertaining to speeding infractions of 45 km above the speed limit, or more.
“The number of speeding infractions involving persons in the 16-24 age category is double the number of infractions of all age categories 25 and over.” SAAQ spokesperson, Gino Desrosiers said to The Suburban. “The lack of experience and maturity combined with the sense of invincibility tends to play a role in many of those cases.” he said.