Girl of 15 and driver killed as school coach overturns and crashes on motorway

Teenager identified as Jessica Baker, while boy of 14 suffered life-changing injuries in accident that left pupils standing on hard shoulder

Jane Dalton
Friday 29 September 2023 22:21 BST
Schoolgirl and driver killed after school bus flips on motorway, police say

A 15-year-old schoolgirl who died when a school bus flipped over and crashed into a reservation on the M53 has been identified as Jessica Baker, police say.

She and the driver of the coach were both killed in the crash just after 8am, and a boy aged 14 suffered life-changing injuries, Merseyside Police said.

Two other children were seriously injured, and 11 pupils needed hospital treatment.


Emergency services were called just after 8am on Friday to reports of an overturned coach on the northbound motorway near junction five at Hooton, Cheshire.

Witnesses said children escaped through the back window of the coach and were standing on the hard shoulder after the accident. Merseyside Fire and Rescue helped passengers escape the debris.

North West Ambulance Service and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital declared major incidents, although Alder Hey later de-escalated.

NHS workers abandoned their strike to be available to help the injured, Unison North West said.

“We dispersed our picket and members are returning home to be on-call to help,” the union posted on social media.

Long tailbacks built up on the motorway, which was then closed for hours after the crash, causing heavy traffic in other areas.

Merseyside Police said a total of 58 people were involved in the incident including the two fatalities. Some 50 children were taken to a casualty centre in Wallasey, and of those, 39 were discharged, while the rest were taken to hospital for treatment.

The coach, which belonged to Carvers Coaches of Ellesmere Port, had been en route to West Kirby all-girls grammar school and Calday Grange all-boys grammar school, also in West Kirby, Merseyside.

(PA Wire)

It’s understood it had been travelling in convoy with two other school buses. No other vehicle was involved.

The mother of a pupil in the same year as the deceased student said: “It is sheer luck she that she wasn’t on that bus – she could so easily have been.

“My heart goes out to the child’s family and the family of the bus driver.”


Merseyside Police Chief Superintendent Graeme Robson said: “Sadly, I can confirm that the driver and a 14-year-old schoolgirl have died.

“Two children were taken from the scene to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.”

Mr Robson said: “Family liaison officers are providing specialist support to both families and we are working with both schools and Wirral and Cheshire West Councils to ensure the necessary trauma support is in place for the children on the bus.

“We also know that other children from both schools were on buses travelling in convoy with the bus involved in the incident and witnessed the incident. They too will be provided with appropriate trauma support.”

The two most badly hurt were said to be in a serious condition, while eight other children were taken to the Countess of Chester Hospital and Arrowe Park Hospital.

Joanne Clague, area director for North West Ambulance Service, offered the service’s condolences to those involved. She said: “Following reports of a crash involving a coach this morning, we declared a major incident. This was due to the potential number of casualties involved.

“As a result, we sent a substantial number of ambulances, senior clinicians and our hazardous area response teams.

“A critical care doctor was also dispatched to the scene.”

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