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Third Prior's Court School staff member dies from M4 crash injuries

School for autistic children "will never quite be the same"

John Herring

John Herring

john.herring@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

01635 886633

Third Prior's Court School staff member dies from M4 crash injuries

A THIRD member of staff from Prior's Court School has died from injuries sustained in yesterday's crash on the M4.

The driver of the school minibus involved in the crash died in hospital today, Thames Valley Police announced at a media briefing this afternoon.

Two staff members were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash involving the minibus and a lorry between Hungerford and Chieveley. 

The collision occurred on the way back to Prior’s Court in Hermitage, after three young adults – who all have severe autism – were being supported to attend a regular work placement session.

The briefing, held at the school for autistic people aged 5-25, heard that two of the young people have been discharged from hospital. 

A third remains in hospital and is recovering from an operation.

Two other staff members where taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries and continue to receive medical care.

Speaking at today's briefing the school's chief executive, Mike Robinson, said: "The staff at Priors Court are remarkable people and they are doing extraordinary things to transform the lives of those young people who are most challenged by autism; and we are absolutely devastated that three of our colleagues have lost their lives and a further two are in a critical condition following yesterday's tragic accident; and all of our thoughts are with the families and friends of those people.

"At the same time, we are unbelievably blessed that the three young people who were travelling in the minibus at the same time have less serious injuries; and two of those young people returned to us last night from hospital, and a third is still in hospital but recovering from an operation. 

"Our focus now is to support the families of those staff involved, but it is also to support the wider Priors Court community. That's the young people, the staff, and the parents. 

"We will get through today, we will get through tomorrow and the day after but Priors Court will never quite be the same again; but I know the remarkable staff here will honour the memory of those who we lost by making sure that they carry on the great work those people have started."

The lorry driver sustained minor injuries and was taken to hospital but has since been discharged.

Inspector Andy Storey, of Thames Valley Police roads policing unit, said that no arrests had been made at this stage.

"This is an ongoing investigation and we would ask the public not to speculate about this tragic event," he said.

"The ongoing investigation will seek to establish what happened in this tragic incident.

“Our thoughts remain with all of those involved in this collision. Specially trained Family Liaison Officers are providing support to the families and we are in regular contact with the school."

Anyone who may have seen what happened or who has dash-cam footage of the incident is asked to contact police.

Anyone with information should call the 24-hour Thames Valley Police enquiry centre on 101 quoting reference number URN 545 (11/10) or by using their online form.

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