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Police launch inquiry into fatal M5 accident

By Mid Devon Gazette  |  Posted: December 11, 2012

By David Shepherd

Six lanes of gridlock greeted commuters after two accidents on the M5, one of them fatal

Six lanes of gridlock greeted commuters after two accidents on the M5, one of them fatal

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A 47-YEAR-old man was killed in a second horror smash on the M5 motorway near Cullompton last Wednesday.

He was driving a black Ford Focus which collided with four other cars and a lorry on the northbound carriageway between junction 28, Cullompton, and 29 at Sowton, Exeter, at around 3.45pm.

The Shropshire man was killed at the scene while three other people were treated for minor injuries at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital.

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman said: "The northbound carriageway was closed and diversions were put in place.

"A section of the central reservation was later removed to allow a large volume of static northbound traffic to travel back to Exeter via the southbound carriageway.

"All traffic was cleared by 8.10pm but the road was not reopened until around 3.30am.

"Officers from the Serious Collisions Investigation Unit have launched an investigation into the crash and are appealing for witnesses to contact them," the spokesman said.

Police say the five-vehicle pile-up blocked all three lanes of the carriageway and the stretch between junctions 28 and 29 was closed completely to allow the air ambulance to land for the second time that day. A previous multiple vehicle crash occurred on the southbound carriageway at 1.35pm which involved a Volkswagen camper van and a Vauxhall Tigra, leaving two people trapped and one of them was airlifted to hospital. The collisions led to delays for commuters who were diverted to either Tiverton, via the A396, or Cullompton via Pinhoe along the B3181.

Police are investigating the cause of the collisions which occurred as Devon County Council warned motorists to take care as temperatures plummeted.

Road temperatures dropped to below freezing across the county, the coldest weather so far this winter. Grit-spreading lorries were out last week but motorists are urged to never assume all roads were treated, as showers can often wash salt away.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: "Those temperatures were among the coldest we've had so far this winter. Roads are still wet and there is standing water and run-off from fields which can lead to icy patches overnight.

"Motorists should remember that ice may even form on treated roads so I would urge everyone to take care if they are travelling," he added.

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