Chaos was brought to the M5 Motorway and the towns alongside it in the West Country on Wednesday, as traffic accidents brought both sides of the motorway to a complete halt. Early reports suggest motorhome insurance experts are certain to be involved in the ensuing investigations.
The closures centred around the Cullompton Services Area (Junction 28-29) and started at 1.45pm when a red VW campervan careered across the northbound section of the motorway, crossed the central reservation and collided with a Tigra car heading along the southbound carriageway. Both drivers were seriously injured and the motorway was closed completely to allow the Devon Air Ambulance to make an emergency landing. Occupants of both vehicles were trapped and fire crews had to cut the casualties free and take them to nearby hospitals.
Devon and Cornwall Police said the campervan, which is registered to an address in London, was travelling northbound when it veered into the central reservation and across onto the southbound carriageway. The southbound was still closed and rescue and emergency services were again working on the northbound carriageway several hours later when a four vehicle collision occurred on the one northbound lane that was still open.
At least two people sustained serious injuries in that crash and emergency crews were forced to close the motorway again to allow the Devon Air Ambulance to land for the second time in a matter of hours. Both casualties were taken to the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital and unfortunately at least one of them was reported to have died at the hospital. It was not until the early hours of Thursday morning that the motorway became fully functional again.