West Yorkshire M62 hen party crash victims 'critical'

Bethany Jones Bethany Jones, 18, died at the scene of the accident on Friday

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Tributes have been paid to a woman who died when the minibus she was on with 20 other hen party guests crashed on the M62 motorway.

Police say eight women remain at two hospitals after the bus was in collision with a lorry near junction 32 at Castleford, on Friday while en route to Liverpool.

Bethany Jones, 18, of Pontefract, died in the crash.

Ms Jones's family said she was "caring and considerate to everyone she met."

West Yorkshire Police said the lorry driver, arrested on suspicion of death by dangerous driving, has been bailed. The accident happened as the party travelled to Liverpool.

Earlier reports that bride-to-be Stefanie Firth, 24, from South Elmsall, was in intensive care, have not been confirmed.

'Horrendous' injuries

In a statement released through West Yorkshire Police, Ms Jones's family said: "Beth was a fun and bubbly girl who was caring and considerate to everyone she met.

"She was the apple of her granddad's eye and she will never be forgotten and sadly missed by everyone."

Seven of the women still receiving treatment are in a stable condition at Leeds General Infirmary, after three spent the night in intensive care.

One of the victims is being treated at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.

Brian Capstick, councillor for South Elmsall, said the community was "completely stunned" by the crash.

He told BBC Radio 5 live: "It's a very tragic accident.

"It's affected a lot of lives; what you've got to appreciate is it's a very close knit ex-mining community. A lot of the young girls that were involved and the mothers who where involved with them, are all inter-related.

"It's a tragic, horrendous accident for the whole of the community."

Lorry and minibus at scene Ms Jones died in the crash on the sliproad of the M62 motorway

Mr Capstick also said he had spoken to friends and relatives of the women, who have visited their loved ones in hospital.

"Some of the injuries are absolutely horrendous. It really is tragic, it's dawning on people locally what the effect will be."

'Effectively gridlocked'

Crews from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said it was the worst crash they had seen in years.

Staff from five stations attended the scene and found the minibus, which had set off from South Elmsall, on its side.

Patients were treated at the scene before being taken to hospitals including Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield and Leeds General Infirmary.

At one stage six air ambulance were involved in dealing with casualties at the scene.

One motorist, Pritpal Singh, 28, from Leeds, saw the immediate aftermath of the accident.

"I was going in the same direction as the accident, the westbound carriageway. It was effectively gridlocked from 11.30am onwards.

"By noon everyone had shut off their engines and started walking around on the road.

"I was about a third of a mile back from where the accident was, I got out and walked up to the scene."

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