Family of mum killed in smart motorway smash near Worksop welcome police review

The family of a mum and gran killed in a crash on the M1 near Worksop have welcomed a police review of smart motorway death crashes, which could result in Highways England being prosecuted for corporate manslaughter.

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 7:25 pm

Nargis Begum, a 62-year-old grandmother from Sheffield, died on a stretch of the M1 without a hard shoulder near Woodall services in September 2018.

The mother-of-five, who had nine grandchildren, had got out of her husband’s broken-down Nissan Qashqai and was waiting for help to arrive when another vehicle collided with the Nissan, sending it crashing into her.

South Yorkshire Police have confirmed that an official review has started into the collision and another which killed two other motorists on the M1 near Sheffield.

Traffic on the M1 near Sheffield.

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Officers are reviewing evidence surrounding the crashes and reports which were presented and referred to at inquests into the deaths of those killed in the collisions.

Claire Mercer, who set up the Smart Motorways Kill campaign group after her husband Jason was killed in a collision, wants Highways England to be prosecuted for corporate manslaughter for allowing smart motorways to be introduced and allowing them to continue to operate despite safety concerns.

There are no hard shoulders on smart motorways to reduce traffic congestion, resulting in broken down vehicles often having to be abandoned in a live lane if they are unable to pull over into refuge areas dotted along the side of the road.

Nargis Begum with her husband Mohammed

Niaz Bashir, the son of Nargis Begum said: “We welcome the decision and are pleased to hear the review is being launched, however, we are taking nothing for granted just yet.

“I am keen to see the scope of the review, the power it has to implement and findings and propositions, and the breadth of the individuals involved.“We will also be keen to see the timescales as it is pointless if there is no defined time range for findings and consequent decisions.

“I have been been contacted by South Yorkshire Police to meet and have an initial discussion, so I will be able understand things in greater detail. But for now, I welcome the opening of the review.”

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