Horsebox and lorry in M6 horror crash

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By Walsall Advertiser | Friday, August 17, 2012, 09:20

TWO people are in a critical condition in hospital after a 38-tonne lorry collided with their vehicles on a busy stretch of motorway near Sutton.

Both the man and the woman suffered serious head injuries after the Vauxhall Combo van and horsebox they were travelling in respectively were involved in the pile-up on the southbound stretch of the M6 near the 4a junction with the M42, close to Water Orton, at around 2.20pm on Monday (August 13).

Detectives investigating the horrific crash, which forced both sides of the carriageway to close, say they believe both vehicles were stationary in the inside lane – with the occupants standing on the motorway – when the lorry struck.

It is not known why the passengers were standing on the motorway and police are now appealing to motorists who witnessed the incident – which killed one of the three horses being transported – to come forward.

Inspector Mark Watkins, from West Midland Police's Collision Investigation Unit, said: "We now know the drivers of these vehicles had stopped in the inside lane and were out walking on the carriageway when an oncoming lorry collided with them.

"What we need to understand is why the vehicles stopped and why the occupants were standing in a live lane.

"I would urge anybody who either witnessed the collision or the vehicles stationary before impact, to contact us at the Collision Investigation Unit."

The 49-year-old male van driver from Willenhall, in Walsall, was airlifted to University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire with serious head and chest injuries. The 40-year-old female horsebox driver from Oswestry was flown to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

No details have yet been released about the condition of the lorry driver.

The incident brought the motorway to a standstill for over nine hours as medics attended to the injured parties and highways officials cleared the debris left strewn across the motorway.

Central reservation barriers were cut to allow motorists stuck behind the scene of the collision to leave the motorway via the northbound carriageway.

But the waiting was took much for one man who was spotted skateboarding down the hard shoulder.

Normal service was resumed on the northbound carriageway at around 8.30pm, but it wasn't until 11.40pm that the southbound carriageway re-opened.

Witnesses to the crash – particularly anyone who saw the white Vauxhall Combo van or the silver horsebox prior to the collision – are urged to contact the Collision Investigation Unit on 0121 322 6098.

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