M5 crash - Seaton couple’s lucky escape

Pair say stopping to clean a dirty windscreen may have saved their lives

A SEATON couple have told how a dirty windscreen may have saved their lives on Friday.

Jean and Phylip Mclean, who run the Toning Centre, in Queen Street, were heading for the M5 when they pulled over in Honiton to clean the glass.

They believe the brief stop meant they missed being in the centre of the horror smash, near Taunton, by seconds.

Said Mr Mclean: “We were on our way to the Midlands and luckily we stopped to clean the windscreen which just smeared up for some reason.

“If we had not we would have been right in the middle of the accident but as it was Jean was able to bring the car to a stop just 100ft behind the carnage.

“We had not seen any fireworks or black smoke – the first we saw were two lorries in front of us and one suddenly pulled over with its hazard lights on.

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“The next thing there were a hell of a lot of almighty explosions. There were children crying, elderly people really distressed and one disabled girl was very upset. You just had a feeling of helplessness but by this time the emergency services had arrived.

“People started going around knocking on car windows offering help for people with children – giving tea and coffee.

“You had all this carnage in front of you and this spontaneous pulling together and support around you – it was the best of human nature under horrific circumstances

”The emergency services really did put their lives on the line. One female police officer showed us how her high visibility vest had started to melt.

“All we can say now is how pleased we were to see Seaton beach again yesterday.”

** COLYTON couple Matt and Michelle Craker and their son Freddie, seven, were amongst those caught up in the centre of the accident.

They fled for safety – along with their three show dogs – seconds before their van exploded in flames.