More victims of Saturday’s fatal collision on the M1 have been named after the court appearance of a lorry driver accused of causing their deaths while being almost twice the drink-drive limit.
Six men and two women died in the collision between two lorries and a minibus on the M1 in Buckinghamshire in the early hours of Saturday. Another three people, including a five-year-old girl, were taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries, and a fourth suffered minor injuries.
The pile-up near Newport Pagnell was allegedly caused when a minibus collided with a lorry in lane two while attempting to avoid a stationary lorry in lane one.
The minibus had been taking a party of 11 from Nottingham to London. Its driver, Cyriac Joseph, 52, the owner of the ABC Travels company, died in the crash. He was described by a friend on Sunday as an “extraordinary father”.
Three other victims were named as Karthikeyan Ramasubramaniyam Pugalur, Rishi Rajeev Kumar and Vivek Bhaskaran, Indian nationals who were working for the IT contracting company Wipro at the Nottingham office of the credit card provider Capital One.
One of the three is believed to have been the father of the five-year-old girl, whose mother was also killed. The mother has not yet been named.
Another Wipro employee, Mano Ranjan Panneerselvam, and his wife are understood to be the two others who remain critically injured in hospital.
They are believed to have been en route to France for a holiday with members of Panneerselvam’s family who were visiting the UK from India. Panneerselvam’s father, aunt and uncle died in the crash along with his three colleagues, the Daily Mail reported.
A spokeswoman for Wipro said colleagues were praying for Panneerselvam’s recovery. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of all those who lost their lives in this tragedy,” she said.
At High Wycombe magistrates court on Monday, the driver of the Scania lorry, Ryszard Maseriak, wiped away tears as he faced eight counts of causing death by dangerous driving, four counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and eight counts of causing death by careless driving while over the prescribed alcohol limit.
The court heard that Masierak, 31, of Evesham, Worcestershire, was accused of having 55mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath after the crash. The legal driving limit is 35mg.
Maseriak listened intently to the proceedings via a Polish interpreter as the charges were read out. He made no application for bail and did not indicate how he would plead to the charges. He was remanded in custody to appear next at Aylesbury crown court on 26 September.
The driver of the other lorry, David Wagstaff, 53, from Stoke-on-Trent, has also been charged in connection with the crash. He is accused of eight counts of causing death by dangerous driving and four counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and is due to appear at Milton Keynes magistrates court on 11 September.