Two men have been charged over a crash on the M1 that left eight people dead and three more fighting for their lives in hospital.
Ryszard Masierak and David Wagstaf were charged with eight counts each of causing death by dangerous driving and four each of causing serious injury by dangerous driving. Masierak was charged with eight more counts of causing death by careless driving while over the drink-drive limit.
Six men and two women died at the scene of the crash, near Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire on Saturday. It was reported on Saturday that a man, a woman and a five-year-old girl were being treated for life-threatening injuries, while another woman was in hospital in a less serious condition.
On Sunday, Thames Valley police said all four were in a serious condition. Masierak, who is 31 and from Worcestershire, was remanded in custody awaiting a court appearance on Monday. Wagstaf, who is 53 and from Stoke-on-Trent, was bailed and is due in court on 11 September.
The crash, which happened at about 3.15am on Saturday, involved two lorries and a minibus and police believe some of those travelling in the latter were visiting the UK from India.
One of those killed has been named locally as Cyriac Joseph, the owner of the minibus firm ABC Travels, whose vehicle was involved in the crash. Soyimon Joseph paid tribute to his friend, who was also known as Benny, saying he had seen him the night before the crash.
“Hearty condolences. I never thought yesterday [at] 10pm you say thank you to me it was our last meeting. We will meet again in heaven,” he wrote on Facebook, adding that his heart was broken by news of the death.
The minibus had been taking a group of people from Nottingham to Wembley in north-west London, Soyimon Joseph said. He described the crash as “devastating”, saying Benny, a father of two, had been married to his wife, Ancy, for two decades.
He told the Sunday Mirror: “It is devastating. He and Ancy celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary last year. Benny is the perfect driver.”
A passerby who stopped his journey home to help a young girl trapped in the minibus said he had given his jacket to the child to keep her warm.
Brett Smith, from Newport Pagnell, streamed a live video of himself on Facebook, minutes after leaving the scene of the crash.
“There’s been a severe accident where a family has been destroyed and I held a little girl by her arms, trapped inside a vehicle for a good hour or so with the emergency services, the fire service, trying to help get her out,” he said.