BURK’S FALLS – A 17-year-old girl is dead and two friends hospitalized in critical condition after a long weekend crash.
On July 2 at 5:28 p.m. Almaguin Highlands OPP responded to a single vehicle rollover on the southbound lanes of Highway 11 just south of the Ferguson Road exit in Armour Township.
Three girls, all in their late teens, were travelling in a brown 2003 Pontiac van that left the highway and rolled.
A passenger, Sara Nicole Girard, 17 of Stouffville, was ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene. A post mortem examination was conducted in Bracebridge on Tuesday, the results are not yet known and the incident is still under investigation.
The other girls, the 17-year-old driver of Markham and an 18-year-old passenger from Stouffville. were airlifted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital, where they remained in critical condition Tuesday.
Traffic was rerouted and the highway remained closed for police investigation until about 2 a.m. on July 3.
The incident is still under investigation by Almaguin Highlands OPP and the OPP Technical Traffic Collision Investigation.
According to Staff Sergeant Stacey Whaley, the cause of the collision is still unknown.
“We are still investigating,” he said. “We know that two people were ejected so we’re investigating use of seatbelts. Normally when people are ejected that is the cause.”
It is unknown at this time whether speed was involved.
The Burk’s Falls and District Fire Department was also on scene.
According to fire chief Dave McNay, they were initially called to the scene for auto extrication.
“We left the scene and one of my firefighters got flagged down by an OPP officer,” he said. “They asked if we could come back out and do traffic control.”
McNay says there were on scene until about 1 a.m.
Girard’s death was one of four in the province over the Canada Day long weekend on OPP patrolled roads, trails and waterways, according to a press release issued by the OPP.
“Although our officers did an excellent job of enforcement over the weekend, we cannot stop the senseless deaths that in some cases might have been preventable,” OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis was quoted as stating in the release. “Increased visibility and our focus on the four key areas of aggressive driving, distracted driving, drinking and driving and seatbelts does work, but unfortunately these tragedies continue to happen.”