Thu, 11 Oct 2018
TWO members of staff from Priors Court School in Hermitage were killed in today's crash on the M4.
A school minibus carrying staff and pupils from the school for autistic people aged between 5-25 was involved in a collision with a lorry at around 12.10pm.
Five staff and three young adults with autism were injured in the crash, which happened on the eastbound carriageway between Hungerford and Chieveley.
Two of the staff members died at the scene. The other three, including the driver, are in hospital with serious injuries.
The three young adults received less serious injuries. The lorry driver sustained minor injuries.
Mike Robinson, Chief Executive at Prior’s Court said; “I speak on behalf of us all at Prior’s Court when I say we are devastated about the road traffic collision which happened today. I send my deepest condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of the two people who lost their lives.
“At this time, there are three further staff members receiving treatment and my thoughts are very much with them and their families.
"In such tragic circumstances, we are grateful that all the young people involved are safe and without serious injuries, and we will be doing everything we can to safeguard their wellbeing at hospital and upon their return.”
"The collision occurred on the way back to Prior’s Court, after the three young adults –who all have severe autism – were being supported to attend a regular work placement session.
"Specialist Police Family Liaison Officers are helping those affected by this terrible and tragic incident."
1/2. We are absolutely devastated about the road traffic collision which happened today involving 5 staff members and 3 young people from Prior’s Court. Our deepest condolences are with the families, friends & colleagues of the 2 staff members who sadly lost their lives.— Prior's Court (@PriorsCourt) October 11, 2018
2/2. 3 further staff members are being treated and our thoughts are with them. 3 young people are being treated for less serious injuries. We are doing everything we can to safeguard the well-being of those young people. Read our full statement here: https://t.co/KpBcA8K2mV— Prior's Court (@PriorsCourt) October 11, 2018
Three air ambulances and six ambulances were sent to the scene of the collision.
The eastbound carriageway was closed for several hours to allow investigation work to be conducted.
The school said in a statement: "We can confirm that at the time of the collision, there were three young adults from Prior’s Court in the minibus, as well as five Prior’s Court employees.
"Two members of staff involved sadly died at the scene. Three further staff members who were passengers in the minibus, including the driver, have been taken to hospital with serious injuries.
"The three young adults present received less serious injuries, and also attended hospital for assessment and treatment.
"The driver of the HGV was taken to hospital with minor injuries."
Officers from the Joint Operations Serious Collision Investigation Unit have started an investigation to try and determine the cause of the incident. Anyone who may have seen what happened or who has dash-cam footage of the incident is asked to contact police.
If you have any information, please call the 24-hour Thames Valley Police enquiry centre on 101 quoting reference number URN 545 (11/10) or by using their online form.
West Berkshire Council's executive member for Children and Young People, Lynne Doherty (Con, Northcroft) said: “It was with deep sadness that we learnt yesterday that two members of staff had lost their lives. On behalf of the Council and all our schools we send our condolences to their families, friends and colleagues.
“Schools are tight-knit communities and I know everyone at Priors Court will be devastated today. Our thoughts are with the whole school community and in particular with the staff and young adults who were injured. We wish them – and the HGV driver injured - speedy recoveries.”
Newbury MP Richard Benyon said: "Priors Court is an inspirational place doing extraordinary work for severely autistic young people. It is a close knit community and must be feeling traumatised by the tragic events yesterday.
"Along with everyone in West Berkshire I send all at Priors Court my deepest sympathy at such a sad time.”
Terribly sad news today. My thoughts and prayers are with those involved,their families and friends. https://t.co/R8A0PI6NXJ— Lynne Doherty (@LynneDoherty_) October 11, 2018
@NewburyToday i worked at priors court school 6 years ago and the work they do for the young people is amazing the staff make sure that the young people enjoy there life as independently as possible. Im in shock at what has happened we are all PCS family past and present— David RFC Farr (@trigger_royal) October 12, 2018
Very sad news that staff and pupils from Priors Court School were involved in the M4 crash yesterday. Thoughts are with the school and the families.— Lee Dillon (@LeeRJdillon) October 12, 2018
Terrible news. Our heartfelt condolences.— Newbury Green Party (@newburygreens) October 12, 2018
How very sad. Thoughts with their families and those injured and traumatised. Terrible.— Newbury Labour (@newburyclp) October 12, 2018
So sad. They do an amazing job at Priors Court.— Self Raising Flower (@SelfRaiseFlower) October 12, 2018
Tragic news that staff and young adults from Priors Court were involved in yesterday’s fatal accident. This wonderful place cares for profoundly autistic people. Deepest sympathy https://t.co/0WrFhmVdcO— Richard Benyon (@RichardBenyonMP) October 12, 2018