Police: Behind the scenes in wake of M5 crash
At around 4am on October 29, two articulated lorries and a van collided between junctions 13 and 14 of the M5 near to Michaelwood services in South Gloucestershire.
Sadly, one man had died in the collision. The southbound carriageway of the motorway was closed until approximately 11.30am when one of the lanes was re-opened.
It's often difficult for people caught up in traffic jams on the motorway to understand why the road has to be closed for what appears to be a long time.
When someone dies, the road becomes a crime scene like any other scene of a death and it's vital we recover all potential evidence to understand what happened.
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Police work hard to minimise disruption on the road network but as the timeline below shows, it's important for them and the family of the person who has died to understand exactly what happened.
04:11hrs – Call received into police control room
04:14hrs – Roads policing officer is sent to the scene following a report of a serious road traffic collision and a possible fatality
04.16hrs – Call received in the police control room from the Ambulance service who are at the scene confirming one fatality and two injured
04:19hrs – Senior investigating officer is dispatched by the police control room to the scene
04:28hrs – Details are sent to the Highways Agency who are responsible for closures and diversions
04:34hrs – First roads policing officer arrives at the scene
04:35hrs – South-bound carriageway is closed
04:56hrs – Senior investigating officer (SIO) arrives at the scene; a command structure is put in place including a scene manager responsible for evidence preservation
05:05hrs – On call specialist road collision investigator is called by the SIO
05:49hrs – Call out to recovery agency to attend and assess the best way of clearing the vehicles (removal of large vehicles and their load is a specialist job, involving specialist equipment and planning)
06:31hrs – Police helicopter is requested to take aerial photographs of the scene
06:41hrs – Specialist collision investigator arrives at the scene
06:53hrs – SIO requests Fire Service to remove the body of the deceased
07:33hrs – Recovery incident manager arrives at the scene after calling for a police escort to because of traffic build-up
07:45hrs – Fire Service attends to remove the body of the deceased; it's an extremely challenging and delicate job which takes some time
07:59hrs – Highways Agency update matrix signs following monitoring of traffic build up on CCTV – travellers as far away as the Midlands are advised of the closure
08:26hrs – Police community support officers are dispatched to help manage traffic build-up on the A38
09:00hrs – SIO liaises with Gloucestershire Police regarding diversions; the scene is on the border of the two forces
09:12hrs – Police liaise with recovery vehicles which are delayed in heavy traffic coming out of Weston-Super-Mare. Police escorts are provided to get them to the scene quickly.
09:20hrs – The body of the deceased is finally removed from the vehicle after a long and intricate operation
10:10hrs – Recovery vehicles arrive at the scene and the lorries and van are dragged to the hard-shoulder. Hydraulic oil, radiator coolant and other debris must also be removed from the carriageway before it can be re-opened.
11.00hrs – Senior investigating officer hands the scene over to the Highways Agency
11.30hrs - One lane of the motorway is re-opened