The driver of an HGV cab unit that crashed on the M62 in West Yorkshire is in critical condition in hospital, police said today.
West Yorkshire Police have issued an appeal for witnesses to the crash between a red Volvo HGV cab unit and another identical vehicle, both travelling in the same direction, at around 2.30pm yesterday.
It is understood both vehicles are linked to the same company and were travelling on trade playes to have tipper bodies fitted prior to delivery.
The motorway was closed after the crash between J23 Outlane and J22 Saddleworth westbound and rush hour motorists travelling through the area faced delays of two hours or more.
A statement from West Yorkshire Police said today: “Initial enquiries suggest that one of the HGVs collided with the rear of the second one, causing both to cross the central reservation and enter the eastbound carriageway.
“The 48-year-old driver of the lead HGV suffered serious head injuries and was airlifted to the Leeds General Infirmary where he is in a critical but stable condition.
“Meanwhile, the other driver involved received treatment for minor injuries at Oldham Royal Infirmary.
“Due to extensive damage to the central reservation, specialist teams had to be deployed from the Highways Agency to assist in the recovery of the HGVs.”
PC Nigel Fawcett-Jones of West Yorkshire Police said: “Enquiries are ongoing today in what was a major incident on the M62 which caused severe delays on the network.
“Both vehicles involved in the collision were distinctive Volvo red cabbed units with no body work and which were travelling on trade plates to have tipper bodies fitted.
“I would like to speak to anyone who saw the manner in which the lorries were being driven prior to the collision or who saw the collision itself.”
He added: “This was clearly large incident which required extensive collision investigation work at the scene and also painstaking work to remove the vehicles from the scene.
“The reopening of the motorway was also delayed due to specialist teams from the Highways Agency having to attend to release the tension in the wire rope barrier prior to recovery taking place.”
Anyone with information about the crash is asked to contact PC 6625 Pursey of the Western Area Safer Roads on 101.