Page last updated at 18:00 GMT, Tuesday, 21 October 2008 19:00 UK

M6 family death toll rises to six

Inspector Brian Rogers of Cheshire Police: ''Tragic collision''

Four children and their two parents have been killed in a crash on the M6 in Cheshire.

Three lorries and two cars were involved in the crash between Junction 16 and 17 at about 2240 BST.

A 46-year-old Portuguese lorry driver has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

The crash happened in traffic caused by an earlier accident on the same stretch of motorway in which former rugby league player David Myers died.

The family from Llandudno in north Wales left Birmingham on Monday evening.

Police said both parents of the man and woman involved had been informed and that they both lived in Birmingham.

The dead man worked as a chef at St David's College in Llandudno where pupils and staff were in shock, said school bursar Judith Leslie.

"All the staff here are devastated. Our thoughts are with the family in Birmingham. The father was a well liked member of staff with a friendly smile who will be sadly missed."

She believed the family had been travelling back from visiting grandparents.

A Cheshire Police spokesperson said of the crash: "You can't possibly imagine the state of the car. It has gone under the truck and then gone on fire."

Asked if the sixth person was a baby, the Cheshire Police spokesman said one was "very small".

Earlier accident

He added: "The only reason we are saying this is because six people were in the car when it left its destination in Birmingham and there was no reason to think anybody got out of it on the way."

Police said the crash appeared to have happened in heavy, slow traffic caused by an accident less than two hours earlier on the same stretch of motorway.

Mr Myers, a former Widnes and Great Britain Rugby League player, was killed in the earlier accident, which took place at 2100 BST, between Junction 17 at Sandbach and Junction 18 for Holmes Chapel.


Emergency services at the scene of the accident

Insp Brian Rogers of Cheshire Police said both crashes would be part of the same investigation examining driving conditions, congestion and driver behaviour.

The northbound section of the M6 between junctions 16, at Stoke-on-Trent, and 17, for Sandbach, was closed for several hours.

One motorist, Aidan O'Rourke, from Manchester, told the BBC he waited nearly three hours before being allowed to pass the incident.

"Passing the accident scene I saw several lorries had been damaged, the cab of one was completely smashed," he said.

Traffic officers reopened the M6 at 0720 BST with traffic flowing, but "a little more congested than usual", a spokesman said.

The arrested man will be questioned through an interpreter.


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