Mother and three children killed in horror rush-hour pile up

The scene of the horrific crash
The scene of the horrific crash

A mother and three children have died in a fatal rush-hour pile-up involving four heavy goods vehicles and four cars.

Thames Valley Police declined to comment on reports that the woman's partner was driving behind in a separate vehicle at the time of the crash, which led to the closure of a section of the A34 in Berkshire for several hours on Wednesday.

The 45-year-old woman, an 11-year-old girl and 11 and 13-year old boys, all from Bedfordshire, England, died at the scene of the collision.

A 30-year-old man from Andover, who was driving one of the lorries involved in the fatal smash, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and bailed until October 5.

Tributes were posted online, with one user writing on Facebook: "Today one of the most horrible things happened? one of the most innocent and nicest boys i know got killed in a car crash on the A34 along with his brother, sister and there mum? all got took too soon? (sic)."

Officers were called to a report of a collision on the northbound carriageway of the A34 between the East Ilsley and West Ilsley junctions shortly after 5.10pm.

Motorists who said they used the stretch of road regularly called it a "notorious accident black spot" and said it was overcrowded.

A man with life-threatening injuries was flown by air ambulance to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, where he remains, while a man and teenage boy with minor injuries were taken to the Royal Berkshire Hospital and have since been discharged.

Nine other people who were slightly hurt were treated at the scene following the accident.

The northbound carriageway, between Chieveley at junction 13 of the M4 and between the West Ilsley junction was closed until 6.30am on Thursday.

Chief Inspector Henry Parsons, head of the Joint Operations Unit for Roads Policing, said: "Our thoughts are with anyone affected by this tragedy.

"Can I ask anyone who witnessed the collision, including anyone travelling on the southbound carriageway who saw anything they believe is significant, to contact police."

Thames Valley Police Chief Constable Francis Habgood expressed his shock following the fatal crash, posting on Twitter: "A truly awful accident on the A34 yesterday - my thoughts are with those affected by this tragic event."

Anyone with information is asked to call Thames Valley Police inquiry centre on 101 quoting reference 1109 10/8.