Third death in autism school minibus M4 crash

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The driver of an autism school minibus involved in a motorway crash with a lorry has died.

Police said a third person died in hospital on Friday after two people died at the scene of the collision on the M4 on Thursday.

The victims, who were all in the minibus, were staff members at Prior’s Court School in Thatcham, Berkshire.

Prior’s Court chief executive Mike Robinson said the school “will never quite be the same again”.

He added: “The staff at Prior’s Court are remarkable people and they are doing extraordinary things to transform the lives of those young people who are most challenged by autism.

“We are absolutely devastated that three of our colleagues have lost their lives.”

Mr Robinson said the school would “honour the memory of those who we have lost by making sure that they carry on the great work that those people have started”.

Two other minibus passengers, who suffered life-threatening injuries, remain in a “critical condition” in hospital, Mr Robinson said.

He added the school was “unbelievably blessed” that three young adults suffered less serious injuries, with two being discharged from hospital.

One young adult from the school remains in hospital to recover from an operation.

Prior’s Court Foundation is a charity providing schooling and provision for people aged between five and 25 who have severe autism and complex learning difficulties.

Insp Andy Storey said the lorry driver, who suffered minor injuries, had also been discharged.

Thames Valley Police said there have been no arrests over the crash.

Insp Storey added: “The ongoing investigation will seek to establish what happened in this tragic incident.

“Specially trained family liaison officers are providing support to the families and we are in regular contact with the school.”

The crash happened at about 12:20 BST on the eastbound carriageway of the M4 between junction 14 at Hungerford and junction 13 at Newbury of the M4.

The westbound carriageway was initially closed to allow three air ambulances to land and the eastbound side remained closed for about nine hours.

Thames Valley Police has appealed for anyone who saw what happened or has dashcam footage to contact them.

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