M40 CRASH: Driver ‘I could so easily not be here now’

Damaged HGV involved in multiple vehicle accident on M40. Picture courtesy @davyclarke
Damaged HGV involved in multiple vehicle accident on M40. Picture courtesy @davyclarke

A driver involved in this morning’s fatal M40 crash has told how he was just feet away from ‘absolute bedlam’.

Bert Hanks, 65, has been helping his son renovate a house in London, and was driving home early to celebrate Valentine’s Day with his partner Beverly Knight when the accident happened near Bicester.

Mr Hanks from Little Kineton, described hearing a loud crash after driving through a thick band of fog, before another vehicle shunted into the back of his car.

He said: “The person who died was only 12 feet from me, it was absolute Bedlam and I’ve never seen anything like it.

“There had been fog from the M25, but I wasn’t in a hurry and I was doing about 65mph with dipped headlights.

“Then suddenly there was a solid wall of thick fog, I eased off and slowed down and saw red lights in front of me.

“I thought that I’ve stopped, but can the people behind me see stop, then it all happened so quickly.

“I think I heard a bang behind me and I though I just have to get out of here.

“There was a big lorry and I thought I’d pull in front of him then I heard ‘bang, bang, bang, and there was debris everywhere, people’s shopping that had flown out of the cars.”

Mr Hanks stopped his car and got out to help the injured, but in the panic his dog Lottie, a one year old chihuahua Jack Russell cross, fled up the motorway and has not been seen since.

He said: “I got out and tried to help and when I got back she’d run off up the motorway.

“I walked up the motorway and all the emergency services came very quickly, I had some dust sheets in my car and got them out to help keep people warm.

“Then I had to leave because there was nothing I could do, and I couldn’t find my little dog, she is still missing but she is chipped so I hope she will come back. She is in the vets next week because she has just been spayed and needs to have her stitches out.”

An elderly couple travelling in the same car are thought to have been killed and seriously injured in the crash.

Mr Hanks added: “I could so easily not be here now, but even though you never want to see it, it was wonderful how all the emergency services pulled together.

“All these people, who get knocked sometimes but they really were wonderful.”

Update: We can report that Lottie was later found on Saturday evening.