Fowler Welch truck driver seriously injured in M5 accident

Birmingham, West Midlands, UK:  The driver of a Fowler Welch truck was seriously injured in an accident in the early hours of the morning.  A 35-year-old man was also killed when the truck hit the rear of a broken-down coach on the M5 motorway.

Thirty-five other people were injured in the incident, which happened on the southbound carriageway between junctions three and four just before 6.30am this morning during foggy conditions.

Chief Inspector Carl Flynn, from West Midlands Police, said a male bus passenger and the driver of the lorry were seriously hurt and are in a critical condition in hospital.  The dead man had also been a passenger on the coach, he added.

Twenty-seven other adults injured in the accident were taken to various hospitals in the area, including the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.  The motorway was closed for several hours in both directions between Bromsgrove and Halesowen, southwest of Birmingham.

The Fire Service said one person had to be cut out of the lorry, while two people were cut out of the coach.  Police have since re-opened the northbound carriageway.

The coach carrying local workers to Evesham in Worcestershire had broken down and was in the slow lane when the lorry crashed into the back of it.  Investigators are carrying out an inquiry into the cause of the accident and the southbound M5 is likely to remain closed until at least the end of today.

The lorry’s owner Fowler Welch said in a statement: “At this stage the facts are not fully known.  Our thoughts and concerns are with those involved and their families.  We will be co-operating fully with the police and emergency services to aid them in their investigation.”

Penelope Morgan, who reported the crash to police, told Sky News: “Approaching the coach, where the fog was so thick, you couldn’t see hand in front of you.  The hazards on the coach were very dim, the lights were very dim as well, and until you got right on top of it, you couldn’t actually see it.”

• The M5 was the scene of a devastating crash last November, when to Samworth Brothers lorry drivers were killed and another seriously injured in an accident that happened in thick fog. The accident, the worst in Britain this decade, happened between junctions 24 and 25 of the northbound section of the motorway in Somerset.  The interim findings of accident investigators earlier this month found that it was most likely to have been caused by thick fog and ruled out the possibility that smoke from a nearby fireworks display had obscured drivers’ vision.