Coach driver tellsof object on M-way
British Legion coach crash on the M4 motorway, police said last night.
As crash investigators continued to search the scene and examine the
coach, police said driver Stephen Brown, 38, had told them he swerved to
avoid an object on the carriageway.
Mr Brown, a father-of-three, who escaped with minor injuries, told
police about the object during preliminary interviews.
Chief Inspector Jeff Brommage, deputy head of the Traffic Department
of Avon and Somerset Police, declined to describe the object reported by
the coach driver, but said ''one or two'' other witnesses might also
have seen it.
Police will question Mr Brown and the other witnesses in greater
detail at a later stage, but meanwhile they are ''urgently seeking'' the
driver of a blue vehicle close to or possibly in front of the coach
before the accident.
It could be that he, or possibly passengers, witnessed something of
the accident, said Mr Brommage, who appealed for any other witnesses to
Preliminary examination by investigators from the Department of
Transport and police had found no faults in the coach's steering,
linkages or tyres, he said.
The tachograph showed the driving was within speed limits and the
driver had passed a breath-test soon after the crash.
In Christchurch, Dorset, flags flew at half-mast as family and friends
of passengers who died when the coach plunged off the motorway and
overturned, waited for news.
Ten of the 20 survivors from the legion group who were returning from
a day's outing to a Cardiff brewery are being treated at hospitals in
Police named six of those who died, including Christchurch married
couples John and Ivy Metcalf, both 86, who had both served in the armed
services during the Second World War; and 70-year-old William Cooper and
his wife Peggy, 66.
The other two were William Davis, 87, also from Christchurch, and
James Walsh, 68, from New Milton, Hampshire.
Two other passengers have been identified but their details would not
be released until today, a police spokesman said. Two more victims had
yet to be formally identified.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have sent a message of sympathy to
the Royal British Legion, saying they were ''shocked to hear of the