Page last updated at 06:36 GMT, Sunday, 19 April 2009 07:36 UK

Five dead in 'wrong way' M1 crash


Aftermath of head-on collision on the M1

Five people have died in a head-on collision between two cars, one heading the wrong way on the M1.

The accident happened on the southbound carriageway just south of junction 11 near Dunstable in Bedfordshire.

The driver of a Polish-registered Volkswagen Passat was travelling in the wrong direction just before the smash with a Jaguar, police believe.

The Passat driver plus two men and two women in the Jaguar were pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said the accident had been cleared shortly before 0500 BST and that the motorway was open to traffic.

Bedfordshire Police also said the next-of-kin were being informed and the victims would not be named until that had taken place.

Insp Colin Bonner, of Bedfordshire Police, said he had no idea why the Passat had been going in the wrong direction.

"The vehicle would have been travelling towards Junction 10, where there are some roadworks and some road closures, but the motorway was open for through traffic," he said.

The cars were unrecognisable and there was nothing that could be done for the people involved
Gary Sanderson, East of England Ambulance Service

"There was no reason for that vehicle to have turned round at all, so we are very interested if anyone witnessed that vehicle turning around and any reason why they saw it turn round."

The part of the motorway where the crash happened was down to one lane for repairs, police said.

The southbound carriageway between junctions 10 and 11 was closed for several hours overnight while police dealt with the scene.

Gary Sanderson, from the East of England Ambulance Service, said the crash victims were "quickly" pronounced dead by the emergency services.

He said: "The cars were unrecognisable and there was nothing that could be done for the people involved."

He said the debris was spread over quite a lot of the carriageway.

Police are urgently seeking witnesses to the crash. Anyone with information is asked to call 01234 841212.

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