By JOHN HERBERT, LONDON FREE PRESS REPORTER
An OPP officer is lucky to be alive today after yet another in a series of bizarre traffic accidents this week on Lambton County roads.
Wednesday afternoon, a car hauling a trailer with a 26-foot sailboat on Highway 402 in Sarnia fishtailed, then jackknifed when it was hit by a strong gust of wind, sending the vessel onto the highway.
Police closed Highway 402 east of Airport Road in Sarnia for about three hours.
While the road was closed, an OPP officer parked on the highway at the Airport Road exit — with his cruiser’s red warning lights activated — helped reroute traffic onto a ramp off Highway 402.
That’s when the serious trouble happened.
Const. John Reurink said the officer spotted a fast-moving minivan approaching the roadblock at about 6 p.m.
When it became apparent the minivan wasn’t going to stop, the officer ran for safety towards the median on the divided highway.
The approaching minivan hit the cruiser seconds later, flipped and rolled between the cruiser and the fleeing officer.
Fortunately, there were no injuries in the two mishaps.
The boat, extensively damaged, was eventually lifted onto another flatbed trailer. The cruiser incurred about $4,000 in damage and the minivan was demolished.
Sheryl Mendritzki, 51, of Watford, was charged with careless driving.
Norbert Lennartz, 47, of Montreal, has been charged with having an insecure load.