Pictured: Teacher killed in M4 horror smash when autism school minibus and HGV collided – as daughters pay tribute to ‘beautiful angel’ who loved working with children
- Lorraine Maclellan among two killed after the crash on the M4 midday yesterday
- Minibus was returning to Prior’s Court in Thatcham, Berkshire, after a work trip
- Three other teachers left with serious wounds and three pupils less serious ones
- Eastbound lanes of M4 were closed for nine hours to allow for an investigation
A teacher killed in a crash on the M4 when an autism school minibus collided with a lorry has been pictured for the first time, as her daughters paid tribute to a ‘beautiful angel’ who loved working with children.
Lorraine Maclellan, who was in her 60s, was killed when the minibus she was travelling in with four other teachers and three students collided with an articulated lorry at around midday yesterday.
She was one of two support teachers who died in the collision as they returned to Prior’s Court in Thatcham, Berkshire, which looks after people aged between 2 and 25. The other victim has not been named.
Lorraine Maclellan – pictured with her daughter Michelle – was killed when the minibus she was travelling in with four other teachers and three students collided with an articulated lorry
Three other teachers from the school were flown to hospitals with life threatening injuries.
Another three young people in the minibus, which was taking them back from a regular work placement, suffered less severe injuries.
All six lanes of the M4 motorway were closed as three air ambulances landed at the scene.
The crash kept the eastbound section of the M4 motorway between junctions 13 and 14 closed for nine hours as the wreckage was removed and officers began an investigation.
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Today Ms Maclellan’s daughter Emma posted a tribute to her mother, who worked in the gardens of the 50-acre site.
‘Heaven gained another angel, our beautiful mum, our best friend and the heart of our family was tragically killed yesterday afternoon,’ she wrote. ‘Our family are absolutely devastated beyond words.
‘Our beautiful mum was tragically killed in an accident on the M4 yesterday afternoon while working at a role she loved at Priors Court.
‘Our thoughts are also with the other staff members & children at Priors Court that were also involved and their families. We wish you all a speedy recovery.
Maclellan was one of two support teachers who died in the crash as they returned to Prior’s Court in Thatcham, Berkshire, which looks after people aged between 2 and 25
‘Mum we all love you so much and we can’t even put into words how much we’ll miss you. RIP Mum.’
Her other daughter, Michelle, said: ‘Mum loved her job, colleagues and the amazing children she worked with who all become family to her.
‘Thank you for your kind words at such a sad time. Please send mine and Emma’s thoughts and love to all those involved too.’
Colleague Joanne Cottam wrote: ‘I loved working with your mum. She was amazing lady. Always put a smile on my face and others. She loved working with the students and staff. She will missed deeply missed.’
Friend Shannon Fryer said: ‘RIP Lorraine MacLellan! You were such a gem to PC-staff and students! Thoughts are with all your family! You will be missed thoroughly.’
Ms MacLellan, of Farnborough, Hampshire, was also a member of the Rotary Club.
A spokesman for Prior’s Court said staff had been left devastated by their colleagues’ deaths.
‘On Thursday 11 October, at around 13.40 Prior’s Court received a call from Thames Valley Police informing us that one of our minibuses had been involved in a serious road traffic collision with a heavy goods vehicle on the M4, between J14 at Hungerford and Junction 13 at Chieveley.
‘We can confirm that at the time of the collision, there were three young adults from Prior’s Court in the minibus, as well as five Prior’s Court employees.
Three other teachers from the school were flown to hospitals with life threatening injuries after the crash. Pictured: The minibus
‘Two members of staff involved sadly died at the scene. Three further staff members who were passengers in the minibus, including the driver, have been taken to hospital with serious injuries.
‘The three young adults present received less serious injuries, and also attended hospital for assessment and treatment.’
Mike Robinson, Chief Executive at Prior’s Court said: ‘I speak on behalf of us all at Prior’s Court when I say we are devastated about the road traffic collision which happened today.
‘I send my deepest condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of the two people who lost their lives.
‘At this time, there are three further staff members receiving treatment and my thoughts are very much with them and their families.
‘In such tragic circumstances, we are grateful that all the young people involved are safe and without serious injuries, and we will be doing everything we can to safeguard their wellbeing at hospital and upon their return.’
All six lanes of the M4 motorway were closed as three air ambulances landed at the scene. Pictured: The lorry which hit the minibus
Thames Police said officers were on the scene until late into the evening to carry out forensic investigations to establish what happened in the moments leading up to the crash.
‘At around 12.20pm on Thursday there was a collision between a heavy goods vehicle and a minibus,’ a spokesman said. ‘Two people who were in the minibus sadly died at the scene.
‘Three other passengers in the minibus including the driver have been taken to hospital with serious injuries.
‘Three further passengers received less serious injuries and also attended hospital. The driver of the HGV was also taken to hospital having received minor injuries.
‘Anyone who may have seen what happened or who has dash-cam footage is asked to contact police.’
A post-mortem is due to be carried out within the next week and an inquest will follow.
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