England

Coach driver arrested after M5 crash kills one and injures 39

  • 24 March 2012
  • From the section England
Crash on M5 motorway
Image caption One eyewitness described the lorry as "wedged" into the back of the coach

The driver of a coach involved in a crash with a lorry on a motorway leaving one person dead and 39 hurt has been arrested.

Police said the man, 49, has been bailed after the collision in fog, on the M5 in the West Midlands.

A 35-year-old man, from Birmingham, who was on the coach, died in the crash on the southbound carriageway, between junctions 3 and 4 at 0624 GMT.

The lorry driver and another coach passenger are in a critical condition.

West Midlands Police said the driver of the coach, from Birmingham, had been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

The motorway was shut completely after the crash, but had been fully re-opened by 1550 GMT, police confirmed.

A total of 40 adults were treated at the scene, West Midlands Ambulance Service confirmed.

Stranded coach 'reported'

Twenty-seven of the injured were transferred to nearby hospitals including Queen Elizabeth Hospital and City Hospital in Birmingham, Alexandra Hospital in Redditch and Sandwell Hospital.

Thirty four passengers - men and women - were on board the coach.

The single-decker vehicle was not fitted with seatbelts and is thought to have been carrying fruit-pickers from Birmingham to the Evesham area of Worcestershire.

Ch Insp Carl Flynn, of the Central Motorway Police Group, said it had broken down on the motorway minutes before the accident.

Addressing a news conference at a Highways Agency control centre near the crash scene, Mr Flynn said a 999 call had been made by a member of the public, reporting the stranded coach about 12 minutes before the crash.

"Unfortunately at 6:24 hours a further call was received to say that a large goods vehicle had collided into the rear of the coach," he said.

"Motorway police officers were immediately dispatched and arrived at the scene six minutes later and then assisted colleagues from the Highways Agency, the ambulance service and fire service to manage the scene."

The crash happened on a section of the motorway where roadworks were being carried out.

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