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Locked down on Highway 11 North, driver shares his experience

North Bay man tells his story stuck in traffic during a the Latchford-area shelter-in-place
The long line of transports along Highway 11 North on Thursday night near Latchford.

Many northeastern Ontario motorists know the challenges of what the weather can bring on Highway 11. 

One North Bay man, who asked BayToday to not use his name due to his line of work, was making a delivery on Thursday to Timmins and was hoping to get home in time to catch the last period of the North Bay Battalion game on TV.  

The weather forecast was ideal, but he never anticipated being locked down inside his truck on Highway 11 for more than six hours. 

Like many motorists and truck drivers along Highway 11 North, he was stuck in traffic along the busy highway near Latchford when the Ontario Provincial Police advised Latchord-area residents of a shelter-in-place.

It was due to an investigation in the area of Highway 11 and Portage Bay Road, which is north of Latchford.

SEE: 'Exchange of gunfire': SIU confirms police-involved shooting north of Latchford

The North Bay man realized that this was not your typical highway accident delay as while stopped, he got sporadic updates on social media, due to inconsistent service, about what was going on. 

OPP released few details but the investigation involved a suspect who was believed to be armed and dangerous. He was described as Middle Eastern, about 30 years old, and dressed in black.

This was far more serious than a traffic accident highway closure. 

Not knowing what was going on intensified his anxiety.   

"It was scary seeing cop cars going up and down the highway and helicopters above," he said.   

No one was getting out of their vehicles to see what was going on.

The North Bay man says he got out of his car for a moment and was immediately told by a driver to get back into his vehicle. 

As the delay went from one hour to three hours, from three hours to six hours, the North Bay man realized he was left with only a quarter of a tank of gas and well over 100 kilometres to drive to get back to North Bay once the highway opened.

He realized he was not getting home.  

Thankfully, where he was stuck on the highway, he was able to still get cell service and called a friend in New Liskeard who told him his best bet was to turn around and head north to New Liskeard.  

By around 1 a.m. the "shelter-in-place" was lifted and he was able to turn around and head north to get gas at a truck stop along Highway 11 at 2 a.m. 

He then drove south to Haileybury on Highway 11b to avoid the traffic and came out at Cobalt.  

He ended up finally getting into his home in North Bay at 4:30 a.m. 

It's a night he won't soon forget. 

"I've never had anything like that happen," he said.

"It was frustrating, I had a tough time getting updates. The internet service was inconsistent so I didn't get immediate updates, so not knowing what was happening with phone service was not good and being in and out of service. It made for a long night." 

Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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