Arrests made after M5 caravan convoy crash

Three people have been arrested following a crash involving a convoy of caravans on the M5 into Devon and Cornwall this afternoon.

Howard Lloyd  www.devonlive.com

The incident, near Tiverton, sparked two miles of queuing traffic at around 1.30pm – mainly HGVs delivering goods in the South West.

Two lanes were blocked and a dog was loose.

An eyewitness described the moment a caravan lost control and crashed into a lorry before a dog inside escaped into oncoming traffic.

Paul Martin, a builder from Taunton, was just outside Tiverton in his van following what he described as a ‘convoy of caravans’ which he believed to be travellers heading towards Exeter.

He claims one of the caravans collided with a lorry before hitting the central reservation – an accident which saw two of the lanes closed off.

“They were very lucky to escape with their lives,” Paul said. “It could have been so much worse.

“I was following one of the caravans – I think they were travellers heading towards Exeter – and one of them was behind a Toolstation lorry.

“It pulled out to overtake but hit the side of the lorry.

“When that happened, it split the caravan open and a dog bounded out. I managed to catch the dog and put him back in the car.

“The dog then managed to escape again and ran onto the other carriageway into oncoming traffic but I managed to catch it again.

“It could have been a lot worse. If they had gone over the central reservation when they crashed or someone had swerved to avoid the dog on the other carriageway, it could have been really nasty.”

Devon and Cornwall Police have since confirmed that three people have been arrested and are in custody.

“We attended a RTC on the M5 Southbound at 13:37. 3 people have been arrested for various offences and are being held in Exeter custody.

“Two stolen vehicles also seized,” the force said.

Paul spent about 25 minutes at the scene blocking off two of the lanes with his van to ensure no traffic hit the damaged vehicles.

He said there was not much traffic on the motorway due to the ongoing travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The incident sparked a furious reaction, with people angry that caravans were being allowed to travel on the motorway without being stopped.