The bus driver who died in a horror car crash in Merseyside has been named as a father of two whose family claim "suffered medical issues behind the wheel” before the crash.
Stephen Shrimpton, described by his family as a “loving husband and father”, was driving a bus of more than 50 schoolchildren when it hit a reservation on the M53 near Junction 5 and flipped over.
One of the pupils on board, 15-year-old Jessica Baker, was also killed. A boy aged 14 suffered life-changing injuries, while several others were taken to hospital. Four other children were taken to hospital for treatment.
Eyewitnesses have described how injured children climbed through windows of the bus to escape from the wreckage.
The bus had been taking pupils to the all boys Calday Grange Grammar School and the all-girls West Kirby Grammar School when it crashed.
The crash happened just after junction 5, heading towards Liverpool, and closed a junction of the motorway. The road is reopened today.
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Police appeal for witnesses
A Local Policing Superintendent has appealed for witnesses to the accident.
Sabi Kaur said: “We would ask anyone who witnessed the collision or believes they have captured something significant to contact us as a matter of urgency.”
Police say anyone with information about the collision should call the Matrix Serious Collision Investigation Unit on (0151) 777 5747 or SCIU@merseyside.police.uk, quoting reference 23000944471.
PINNED POST: Teenage girl who died identified
The teenage girl who died after the school coach crashed has been identified as Jessica Baker, 15, Merseyside Police say.
The family issued a photograph of her as the force said they requested privacy.
A police statement said: “Jessica Baker sadly died as a result of the collision on the M53 northbound carriageway earlier today.
“Jessica’s family have requested that their privacy is respected at this time and any updates from them will be issued via Merseyside Police news office as appropriate.”
It’s a heartbreaking day, says council leader
The leader of Wirral Council has joined the emergency services in sending his condolences to the families of the girl and driver who were killed.
Cllr Paul Stuart said: “This is a heartbreaking day and my deepest condolences go out to those who have lost loved ones in this tragedy.
“Schools are very close-knit communities, and I know this will be devastating for all those affected.
“The council has been providing support and assistance to the schools and families since we were made aware of the incident this morning. We will continue to do whatever we can to help.”
Boy of 14 suffered life-changing injuries
A 14-year-old boy suffered life-changing injuries in the fatal school bus collision, police say.
Merseyside Police said a total of 58 people were involved in the incident, including a 14-year-old girl and the bus driver who were both killed.
They said four people were taken to hospital – two to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and two to Arrowe Park Hospital – including the 14-year-old boy.
The remaining 52 were taken to the emergency services training centre, where 39 were discharged with no further treatment and 13 were treated for minor injuries and then released.
Junctions three to five of the M53 will remain closed in both directions for “a considerable time” while inquiries continue, the force said.
‘Unimaginably sad news,' says Starmer
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer wrote on social media: “My heart goes out to everyone affected by the tragic accident on the Wirral this morning. Unimaginably sad news.”
Minute’s silence before matches
Wirral Grammar Boys’ School says a minute’s silence will be held before all tomorrow’s matches.
Sheer luck my daughter wasn’t on the bus, says mother
The mother of a pupil in the same year as the 14-year-old who died said: “It is sheer luck she that she wasn’t on that bus - she could so easily have been.”
She would give her daughter “one hell of a hug” when she got home, Corrin Hickerton wrote on Facebook.
“My heart goes out to the child’s family and the family of the bus driver,” she added.
She said it had never crossed her mind her daughter would not come home after school, as she urged other parents to also give their children an extra hug.
Striking NHS workers return to jobs to help injured
Striking NHS workers left picket lines to be available to help the injured, a union says.
Unison North West said many clinical support workers went back to their jobs.
“Due to a serious traffic incident in the area, many CSWs on the Wirral picket have immediately returned to work to help. We dispersed our picket and members are returning home to be on-call to help,” the union posted on social media.
Two children in serious condition in hospital
Two patients remain in a serious condition at Alder Hey Hospital, emergency services say.
Eight other children were taken to the Countess of Chester Hospital and Arrowe Park Hospital following a clinical assessment at an emergency service training centre in Wallasey.