Another fatal wheel-off on the 401

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WHITBY, Ont. — Early this morning the driver of a minivan was killed almost instantly when the wheel from a U.S.-based rig flew off and slammed into his vehicle.

The as of yet unnamed victim was travelling west on Hwy. 401 east of Toronto when the eastbound tractor-trailer threw a wheel, explains OPP Const. Phil Myers.

“The wheel bounced over the centre median and struck a white minivan travelling westbound, and the driver of the minivan was pronounced dead at the scene,” says Myers. Charges against the driver aren’t likely, but police are trying to determine whether to pursue the owner of the truck.

“It’s a possibility at the moment,” he tells local media. “We’ve got our guys working on that at the moment, so it could take some time.”

Following the much-publicized deaths of Angela Worona in 1995 and Jamie Tyrrell in 1996, an inquest led Ontario to introduce North America’s toughest penalties for wheel-off incidents.

The law, enacted in 1997, sets fines of between $2,000 and $50,000 and does not allow owners or operators to rely on the standard defence of due diligence.

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