The victim of the crash on the M5 between Wellington and Taunton early on Friday 9th February has been named as Elaina Beard (29) who worked for Bluebird Care at Westpark, Chelston. She lived in Bridgwater.
Her family issued the following tribute: “We are totally heartbroken at the loss of our Elaina. She was a loving sister, daughter, auntie and friend, who was so caring both as a carer in her day job and a family member.
“Even as we write this it still doesn’t seem real that she was taken away from us so early. We are supporting each other as a family and have sought a little comfort in the outpouring of messages from people close and far, and we thank you all.”
Colleagues at Bluebird Care have paid tribute to Ms Beard. A memo to staff says: “It is with great sadness that we inform you all today that our colleague and friend Elaina Beard from Bluebird Care tragically lost her life early this morning in an accident on the M5.
“Elaina was the ‘firecracker’ in the Sedgemoor and Burnham-on-Sea team. Courtney, her manager and friend, said she had a unique sense of humour which delighted her customers who will greatly miss her.
“Elaina was a private person who spent her quality time with her sister and niece and nephew in Bridgwater.
“Elaina has been with us since August 2017 and loved her job – she gave up her entire Christmas to help her colleagues enjoy theirs.
“In short, Elaina was a great care worker who will be sadly missed by her colleagues and friends in her ‘Bluebird family’ as Elaina referred to us.
“Courtney on behalf of the company has passed on our deepest condolences to the family. Mark Oswald the company director joins all of the management team in expressing how greatly shocked and saddened we all are today.”
The crash at 6.20am involved four cars and resulted in one fatality and 10 casualties, 8 of whom were treated at Musgrove Park Hospital and Southmead Hospital, Bristol. Police have said they believe that Elaina got out of one of the cars involved in the crash and was then hit by several vehicles on the southbound carriageway.
Insp Darren Jarvis from Avon and Somerset Police said: “Unfortunately one of the drivers has been struck by other vehicles driving on the southbound carriageway. Not all of those vehicles have been identified at the moment. I would ask anybody who was travelling on that road at that time, and may not have realised what happened and what they may been involved in to come forward.”
Three people had to be cut from vehicles at the incident that was attended by 15 crews including rapid response vehicles and two air ambulances. The road in both directions was closed for most of the day between Wellington and Taunton causing long tailbacks and heavy traffic on all roads in and around Wellington and Taunton as the police carried out an extensive investigation.