Concern over two more deaths on smart motorway near Sheffield as more fatalities are confirmed

Concern has been expressed after two more deaths on a stretch of smart motorway.

South Yorkshire Police revealed that two people died in a collision on the M1 between Junction 30 for Barlborough and Junction 31 for Aston on Sunday night when a vehicle left the northbound carriageway.

The casualties have not yet been named.

An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the collision is now under way.

Two people died in a collision on the M1 near Sheffield this morning

It led to the closure of the motorway for a number of hours.

Concerns have been raised that the fatal collision occurred on a stretch of smart motorway where there have already been fatalities.

In March 2019, Derek Jacobs, aged 83, died on exactly the same stretch northbound stretch when his white Volkswagen Crafter stopped in lane one after developing a mechanical fault and was hit by a red Ford Ka, which was then hit by a coach.

The previous year, 62 year-old Nargis Begum, who was a passenger in a Nissan Qashqai which broke down on the M1, one mile north of Woodall Services, died after she was hit by a car as she stood on the grass verge at the side of the motorway.

Nargis and her husband Mohammed Bashir, who had been driving, were waiting for help to arrive when another vehicle then collided with their Qashqai, which then hit the mother and grandmother.

Claire Mercer, whose husband Jason died in another crash on the M1 smart motorway – near Junction 34 for Meadowhall - said she was devastated to learn of more fatalities this morning.

Jason Mercer, 44, from Rotherham and Alexandru Murgeanu, 22, from Mansfield, were killed when a lorry crashed into them after they stopped to exchange details following a minor collision in June 2019.

She is campaigning for Highways England to be prosecuted for corporate manslaughter.

Claire said: “How many more people have to die on smart motorways before something is done about them?

“There are currently four official bodies conducting reviews into smart motorways.

“When something is already known to be dangerous but it is still allowed to operate, and then when people die, how is that not murder?”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Ashley Booker, editor.