Bride-to-be Stefanie Firth involved in M62 crash 'may never walk again'


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The Independent Online

A bride-to-be whose hen party was involved in a fatal crash on Friday has suffered serious spinal injuries. It was reported that the fiancé of Stefanie Firth, who remains in a serious condition in hospital, fears she might never walk again.

Ms Firth, 24, who was due to get married in two weeks, was one of eight women badly injured when the minibus they were travelling in was in collision with a lorry on the M62 a few minutes after they set off for Liverpool for two nights of celebration.

Her husband-to-be Gary Leafe, 28, was at her bedside. Mr Leafe’s mother Lesley, 56, was among those hurt.

First year Leeds University student nurse Bethany Jones, 18, died in the incident whilst her mother and sister were also injured. Tributes were paid over the weekend by the family of the teenager, who was described as a “fun and bubbly girl who was caring and considerate to everyone she met.”

The former mining community of South Elmsall, West Yorkshire, was in shock. Local people described seeing the women dressed in pink setting off in high spirits laughing and joking. They had earlier posted excited messages on Facebook in anticipation of the weekend ahead.

In total 21 women were injured in the collision which was described as one of the worst that emergency services had been required to deal with in a number of years .

The driver of the lorry was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and has been released on bail, police said. Motorists who were first on the scene described seeing a “mass of bodies” inside the overturned van on the slip road near Pontefract.

Off-duty firefighter John Nichol, said: “I think there were 11 or 12 in there, with various injuries, and around five people were out of the vehicle, hobbling around.”