One person died and several people were seriously hurt in a multi-vehicle crash on Highway 20.

The crash took place at 11 p.m. Wednesday on Highway 20 in Riviere Beaudette, near the Quebec-Ontario border, when a tractor-trailer heading east jackknifed on the highway.

Multiple vehicles drove into the truck that suddenly spanned the road, and when it ended ten cars and seven tractor-trailers had smashed into each other.

The wreckage was extreme: tractor trailers were pushed over the median; the cabs of vehicles were crushed by trucks; small cars were pinned between trailers.

Police had to close the highway and at one point around 300 trucks and 150 cars were waiting in a lineup to get around the crash. The highway was reopened at 4:45 a.m.

"The investigation is still ongoing but doesn't seem to have any criminal component," said Sgt. Claude Denis of the Sureté du Quebec.

At the time of the crash there was a mix of freezing rain and ice pellets that had covered the road in ice.

"Early in the morning the meteorological conditions were difficult," said Denis.

One woman in her sixties died at the scene. She was a passenger in one of the first vehicles that crashed.

Two other people who were seriously hurt were taken to hospital to be treated for their injuries, and they are expected to survive.