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Couple 'moving on' after M5 crash one year ago
11:00am Friday 2nd November 2012 in Devon
A COUPLE caught up in the horrific crash on the M5 at Taunton a year ago have spoken of their relief to walk away from it alive.
Bob Patten, 64, was driving with his wife, Jacqueline, 56, from their home in Morchard Bishop, near Crediton, to Backwell in North Somerset, when chaos erupted as they passed junction 25.
Jacqueline sustained serious injuries in the crash and was taken to Taunton’s Mus-grove Park Hospital, but Bob, speaking to the Star yesterday (Thursday), said he was just thankful they walked away from the carnage.
He said: “It was a bad experience – once in a lifetime – but we’re moving on and hopefully won’t experience anything like it again.”
The 34-vehicle pile-up on Friday, Novem-ber 4, at 8.25pm was one of the worst in mot-orway history with seven people killed and 51 injured.
Days after the crash, Bob described the moment when the tail-lights of the car in front of them disappeared suddenly.
He said: “When we approached junction 25 I was driving in the middle lane and there were cars turning off into Taunton.
“At this point I could see far enough ahead to see the other cars.
“As I went along the lights of those other cars just disappeared. They didn’t slowly fade away – it was like they just turned off.
“I braked as I went into the fog bank, and because I braked I was only doing 25mph when my car was hit about four times and collided with another vehicle.
“I can remember smelling fuel, but no smoke. I couldn’t get out of the door as it was jammed shut – I had to hand my wife over the bonnet to someone.
“The visibility went from clear to when you got over the river where visibility was very poor. I couldn’t see anything past two yards from the car bonnet.
“All I could see was the flames, which must have been about 20ft high, and the fire crew doing the best they could.
“We were waiting by the road, so we saw the paramedics use all their skill to treat people.”
Geoffrey Counsell, 50, of Ashill, between Taunton and Ilminster, has been charged with seven counts of manslaughter following the crash and will appear at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on Monday, November 12.
A concert to remember everyone involved in the accident is being staged at the Brew-house Theatre in Taunton at 3pm this Sun-day, and Bob said he and Jacqueline would be attending.
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