LONDON, ONT. -- Police are investigating after a fatal single-vehicle collision in the area of Prospect Hill Road and Eight Mile Road, northeast of London early Monday.

It was morning like no other in recent memory for Anthony Verwaayen. The Middlesex County man has lived near Prospect Hill Road for almost 50 years.

But Monday morning, he told CTV News his family was awoken to a horrifying sound, just after 5 am.

“My wife said there was a big crash. She didn’t know if somebody’s barn came down in the neighbourhood or an accident.”

Verwaayen’s daughter grabbed a flashlight and headed outside. What she found was a devastating crash scene that included twisted grey metal and car parts.

The family immediately called 911.

OPP Const. Kevin Howe says first responders arrived at Prospect Hill Road at Eight Mile Road to find a “catastrophic scene” and, sadly, one male deceased.

“This vehicle sustained such damage that the engine separated from the vehicle. While the investigation is still ongoing it’s very fair to say speed is a factor in this investigation."

Tire tracks leading to the ravine are imprinted on the roadway and trees struck by the vehicle are now both covered by plastic markers from the OPP accident reconstruction team.

The roadway is expected to remain closed into the afternoon.

Howe tells CTV News the crash represents a solemn milestone.

He says, to this point of 2020, Middlesex County has now surpassed the number of fatal crashes in 2019.

“We’re talking about optimal weather, we’re talking about road conditions. And here we are again talking about another person who’s lost their life”, he said, adding, “Possibly, the roads and the weather, not the factor. So then we’re talking about it’s driving that’s the factor. We just need to keep reiterating to the public that they need to slow down."

A message for all of us to hear, as Verwaayen shares another, a message of sympathy to the family of the victim.

“Of course, it’s not nice to hear something like that."

The identity of the deceased is being withheld until next of kin are notified.

- With files from CTV's Justin Zadorsky