LATEST: Floral tributes left at scene of tragic Taunton crash

A PERSON has died and two others taken to hospital after a vehicle failed to stop for police officers before crashing in Taunton.

The crash, which involved one vehicle, happened at around 2.40am today (October 17) and closed Clifton Terrace between the A358 Priorswood Road and the A3038 Kingston Road for more than 12 hours.

It is understood the road reopened at around 3pm.

A victim of the crash has been named locally as Conner Palmer, from Taunton. 

Somerset firm Bridgwater Jobsolutions paid tribute to a 'highly-valued' member of staff.

"Unfortunately this morning we recieved the sad news that our highly valued member of staff Conner Palmer had passed away," a spokesperson said.

"Conner was a hard working, determined man who gave 110% every single day at work.

"Your team mates and us here will miss you dearly. Our thoughts are with your family and friends at this sad time. Rest in peace Connor."

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A spokesperson for Avon and Somerset Police - who have not confirmed the identity of the person killed - said the driver of the vehicle was taken to hospital with 'serious injuries' but later passed away. 

The spokesperson said: "We were called to reports of a car, which was believed to have been stolen driving erratically at about 1.30am this morning on the A38 near to Wellington, driving towards Taunton.

"It failed to stop for officers and shortly afterwards after driving with a deflated tyre stopped outside the former Taunton police station in Shuttern, where the driver was arrested on suspicion of theft of a vehicle.

"Shortly afterwards at about 2.30am officers saw a second vehicle, which was believed to have been stolen.

"This vehicle also failed to stop for officers who followed it. Shortly afterwards the vehicle crashed near to the railway station in Cheddon Road (opposite Kilkenny Court), ending up on its roof and setting fire.

"Fire and ambulance services attended the scene.

"The driver was taken to Musgrove Park Hospital with serious injuries but has sadly died.

"Two other occupants who were seriously injured were taken to Southmead Hospital.

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"Road closures remain in place at the site of both incidents and police investigations are continuing.

"The force’s professional standards department have been advised and the incident has been referred to the IOPC (Independent Office for Police Conduct)."

A spokesman for South Western Ambulance Service said they sent a number of resources to the incident including  HART (hazardous area response team),  an Operations Officer, rapid response vehicles and ambulances and three people have been taken to hospital for further treatment.

A spokesperson for the IOPC confirmed they have launched an independent investigation into the incident.

The spokesperson said: “Initial information suggests the incident happened after a car failed to stop for police. It later crashed near to Taunton railway station in Clifton Terrace at around 2.30am and set alight.

“After being notified by Avon and Somerset Police we sent investigators to the scene and to the post incident procedure.

“The driver of the vehicle was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries and has sadly since died.

“Two other occupants sustained serious injuries and have also been taken to hospital.

“We will shortly be making contact with the man’s family to explain our involvement.

"The IOPC is appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the incident to get in touch by emailing or by calling 0800 029 4691."

In a post on social media PCSO Sam Bushen said: "Clifton Terrace in Taunton is closed and will be potentially for the majority of the day.

"Please consider this when taking your journey into Town as traffic is extremely heavy around the Cheddon Road, Priorswood Road and Greenway Road area. Thank you."

NOTE: We have currently pixelated the images in this story to avoid identifying the vehicle.

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