Three people have died and two drivers have been arrested after a serious collision involving a lorry, a minibus and a car on the M25 in Essex.
A fourth person is in hospital with life-threatening injuries after the crash, which occurred near Waltham Abbey around 6.15pm on Monday and caused lengthy traffic delays.
Essex Police said in a statement the collision occurred between junctions 27 and 26 of the anti-clockwise carriageway, with two drivers arrested on suspicion of causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving.
The M25 was closed between those two junctions for some 11 hours, with Highways England tweeting soon after 5am that it had reopened.
We can sadly confirm that three people have died on the #M25 tonight, Monday 23 August.
Our detectives have been investigating and preserving the scene. Two drivers have been arrested.@HighwaysEAST hope to have the road reopened by 2am.
— Essex Police (@EssexPoliceUK) August 23, 2021
Police said they were eager to trace the movements of all three vehicles – a Ford Mondeo, a minibus and a lorry – leading up to the collision.
They are urging witnesses with dashcam footage to submit a report at https://www.essex.police.uk, or call 101 citing incident 972 of Monday, August 23.
Information can also be given to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or https://crimestoppers-uk.org.
Detective Sergeant Steve Holmes, from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “This evening has been incredibly challenging and we are continuing to work as quickly as we can to piece together exactly what led to this tragic incident.
“My thoughts, and those of all officers on scene are with the families of those who lost their lives this evening.
#M25 J27 for the #M11 towards J26 for #WalthamAbbey anti-clockwise – We are currently in the process of turning all the vehicles trapped in the traffic, this does take some time as we need to do this safely. Thank you for your patience.https://t.co/pX0FFwIP81
— National Highways: East (@HighwaysEAST) August 23, 2021
“At present, two drivers have been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and on suspicion of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
“I need anyone with further information to come forward.”
Emergency services have also thanked motorists for their patience in the face of delays of several hours due to the collision, which was attended by nine ambulances, two air ambulances, several police vehicles plus fire engines from Brentwood, Loughton, Waltham Abbey and Epping.
— National Highways: East (@HighwaysEAST) August 24, 2021
Parv Domah was among those caught up in the traffic tailbacks near junction 26.
He told the PA news agency: “I can’t tell you exactly what happened, I can only say I’ve been here going on three hours.
“There were approximately 30 emergency vehicles that drove past in that time, as well as two air ambulances.
“Traffic was stopped on both sides of the carriageway at one point and now on the anti-clockwise is still shut.”