Newbury News Ltd. Print-Digital-Social

School staff killed in M4 crash

Minibus was carrying autistic people back from work placement

John Herring

John Herring


01635 886633

School staff killed in M4 crash

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."

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.”

Leave your comment

Share your opinions on Newbury Weekly News

Characters left: 1000

Article comments

  • mel.milligan

    12/10/2018 - 10:10

    Dear God, today you took back 2 angels, I pray they reached you quick and safely. Please could I ask for healing to their 3 friends & colleague's and to the young adults (children) , I also pray for healing love to go towards all families friends involved. A very sad day. Amen xx