Anniversary of M5 tragedy
On Sunday, the first anniversary of the accident date, a memorial was unveiled at the Taunton Nature Reserve for the victims of those who tragically died near junction 25 of the M5. Seven people lost their lives and many more were injured in a road traffic accident involving 34 vehicles on the night of 4 November 2011.
The exact cause of the collision is still unknown. Initial investigations centred on a firework display which may have resulted in a blanket of thick black smoke drifting from the nearby Taunton Rugby Club where the display was held. There was a suspicion that the weather conditions, and fog in particular, may have contributed to poor visibility for drivers.
An Inquest into the deaths of Terry Brice, Kye Thomas, Michael and Valerie Barton, Malcolm Beacham and Anthony and Pamela Adams was opened in November 2011 and subsequently adjourned pending the outcome of the Police investigation and any criminal prosecution.
Only recently did the Avon and Somerset Constabulary complete its investigation. After considering the available evidence, the Crown Prosecution Service last month authorised the Police to charge Geoffrey Counsell, who provided the firework display, with seven counts of manslaughter. Mr Counsell will appear in Court later this month to answer the charges which relate to the planning and operation of the display. No action is to be taken against any of the motorists involved or the Taunton Rugby Club.
If you were involved in the incident or a witness to it and would like to help, please contact our Lee Hart.