Series of collisions close Highway 401

At least seven people have been injured, some critically, in a multi-vehicle collision on a busy southern Ontario highway.

Aaron Lazarus of Lakeridge Health says they were told three people suffered critical injuries and four others have minor injuries following the crash on Highway 401, about 80 kilometres east of Toronto.

Lazarus says Ontario provincial police were going from car to car checking for injured people on the closed 10-kilometre stretch of highway between Newcastle and Newtonville.

Reports say dozens of vehicles were involved, but police say they don't have a count. Police said they expected to reopen the eastbound lanes around 10:30 p.m. ET and the westbound lanes a couple of hours later.

Police say Toronto Transit helped transport stranded motorists to a recreation centre in Newcastle, where Red Cross is on scene to provide assistance.

Firefighters say one driver had to be cut from his rig.

Const. Linda Wolf says police are looking into today's blast of winter weather as a possible factor in the crashes.

Environment Canada had warned of snow squalls off Lake Ontario in the area.

"The weather is not ideal at this point," Wolf said.

Spokeswoman Vanessa Thomas said Metrolinx supplied one bus at the request of the provincial police to provide shelter for the occupants of vehicles involved in the crash.

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