Five die as car and lorry crash on M6 in Staffordshire
Five people have been killed in a collision involving a lorry and a car on the M6 in Staffordshire.
Four females and a male, all believed to be adults, in a Nissan Micra died in the crash between junction 15 for Stoke-on-Trent and 14 for Stafford.
The lorry driver, a 60-year-old West Midlands man, has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.
A sixth person is serious but stable following the southbound crash.
The stretch of motorway was shut after the crash at about 04:30 BST, before reopening around lunchtime. There were still long delays back to junction 16 at about 12:30, Highways England said.
It said recovery and clean-up work had been completed.
The lorry driver was uninjured in the collision.
A man in his 40s travelling in the Micra suffered multiple serious injuries in the crash at Seighford, West Midlands Ambulance Service said.
He was taken by ambulance to Royal Stoke University Hospital.
Earlier, Highways England said it removed the central barrier to release traffic trapped within the southbound carriageway between junction 15 and 14.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service said earlier there was "severe gridlock" in the area and motorists were advised to seek alternative routes.
Police thanked drivers for their "patience and understanding" and asked for any witnesses to contact them.
A detailed investigation into the collision had begun, the force said.
Fire crews from Stone and Longton went to the scene.
An ambulance service spokeswoman said: "When emergency services arrived they discovered a car with six occupants inside which had been involved in a significant collision with a HGV.
"Sadly, it quickly became apparent that nothing could be done to save the driver and four passengers. All five were confirmed dead on scene."
Two lanes past the scene on the northbound side were also shut earlier, but have now reopened.
Greg Webb, from Crewe, said he drove on to the M6 at 07:00 to head to Penzance and spent more than four hours driving just over five miles.