M53 crash bus driver tragically leaves behind wife and children
M53 crash bus driver Stephen Shrimpton leaves behind widow in her 30s and children aged just eight and four as sister-in-law reveals he ‘suffered medical issues at the wheel’ before smash on M53 that killed him and 15-year-old schoolgirl Jessica Baker
- A fundraising page has been launched to cover funeral costs for Mr Shrimpton
- The crash involved Calday Grange Grammar and West Kirby Grammar pupils
The driver of the school bus crash on the M53 yesterday morning that tragically killed him and a 15-year-old girl has left behind a widow in her early 30s and two young children aged eight and four.
Stephen Shrimpton was driving a coach of more than 50 students when it crashed with a car and flipped onto its side in a crash Hooton, Cheshire, at 8.30am.
Launching a GoFundMe to pay for his funeral, Mr Shrimpton’s sister-in-law Emily Church claimed that the father-of-two had suffered a medical issue while driving.
The post read: ‘I’m raising some funds for my brother-in-law’s funeral. He tragically died in an accident on the M53 on the morning of the 29th of September, after suffering medical issues at the wheel while driving students to school.
‘He’s sadly left behind my sister who’s now a widow in her early thirties, and unfortunately a single mum alongside his much loved two young children, only 8 and 4, who are going to grow up without their beloved father’.
Tributes have flooded in on the page for Mr Shrimpton, which raised more than £7,000 overnight, with one donator writing: ‘No one should go to work and not come home especially in our line of work, thoughts are with your family and children rest in peace.’
Mr Shrimpton was driving a coach of more than 50 students when it crashed with a car and flipped onto its side in Hooton, Cheshire, at 8.30am
Mr Shrimpton’s sister-in-law Emily Church told of how the father-of-two had suffered a medical issue while driving
The teenage girl who tragically died in a school bus crash on the M53 yesterday morning has been named as 15-year-old Jessica Baker
Emergency services at the scene of the crash between junction 5 at Ellesmere Port and junction 4 at Bebbington
Floral tributes have been left for the victims at West Kirkby Grammar School
Emergency services were called on Friday after reports of an overturned coach on the northbound M53 near to junction 5 at Hooton, Cheshire
Mr Shrimpton tragically leaves behind his wife and two young children aged eight and four
Another wrote: ‘Heartbreaking so sorry for the families what a tragic loss my heart goes out to all families. May they find peace. Thinking of them all.’
A third said: ‘God Bless Ste, such a kind, caring and helpful soul. In our thoughts and prayers.’
Police have named the 15-year-old girl who tragically died in the horror crash as Jessica Baker.
A police statement issued last night 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.’
The incident, which also left a 14-year-old boy with life-changing injuries, saw terrified children climbing out of the windows of the stricken vehicle as they escaped the wreckage.
READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: ‘I thought I was going to die’: Sobbing schoolgirl says M53 school bus crash was ‘very scary’ as she is pulled from wreckage
Pupils caught up in the chaos wept as they told emergency workers how they thought they were going to die, while traumatised witnesses described seeing children on the floor outside the bus.
Merseyside Police has closed the motorway as investigations take place, while tributes have been paid the victims of the incident. At West Kirby Grammar, where Jessica was a pupil, fellow students were led out of school in silence yesterday afternoon.
The force said 58 people were involved in the incident. Four people were taken to hospital immediately. Two were rushed to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and while two others, including the teenage boy, were taken to Arrowe Park Hospital in Birkenhead.
The other 52 people involved attended the emergency services training centre, with 13 being treated for minor injuries and the other 39 being discharged.
The coach was carrying pupils from West Kirby all-girls grammar and Calday Grange all-boys grammar school in Merseyside. The school is the alma mater of former Prime Minister Theresa May’s husband Philip, who grew up in Heswall.
Specialist support is being offered to the families of both victims. Trauma support has also been put in place for all pupils, including those children who were travelling in convoy with the bus and witnessed the horror.
The bus involved belonged to Carvers Coaches based in Ellesmere Port.
In a statement, Merseyside Police said: ‘Just after 8am we received a report that a bus had struck a reservation around Junction 5 and overturned.
‘A 14-year-old girl and the bus driver sadly died following the collision. Their families are being supported by specially trained officers. Post mortems will be carried out next week to establish the cause of death.
‘In total 58 people were involved in the incident. That included two fatalities, two who were taken directly to Alder Hey and two taken to Arrowe Park from the scene. That includes 14 year-old boy who has suffered life changing injuries and remains in hospital’.
‘Junctions 3-5 of the M53 remain closed in both directions and will continue to remain closed for a considerable time while investigations continue and motorists are advised to avoid the area and seek alternative routes.
‘The Birkenhead Tunnel will not close as scheduled at 9pm tonight and will remain open while the M53 is closed’.
An aerial picture shows the overturned coach carrying school pupils on the M53 motorway
Police confirmed in a press conference this afternoon that the driver and a 14-year-old girl have been killed in the bus crash on the M53
(Left to right) Graeme Robson, Chief Superintendent Merseyside Police, Mark Thomas, Area Manager, Head of Prevention, Merseyside Fire and Rescue service, Joanne Clague, Area Director North West Ambulance Service and Simone White, Director of Children, Families and Education at Wirral Council speak at a press conference at Birkenhead Town Hall
Witnesses earlier said children were escaping from the back window and standing on the hard shoulder as shocking photos showed the damaged bus lying completely on its side in the road.
A major incident was declared by the ambulance service and two local hospitals.
Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool is asking parents to only bring children to their emergency department if it is urgent as they are currently ‘extremely busy’ following the crash.
A schoolgirl on the crashed bus told a paramedic: ‘It was very scary – I thought I was going to die’.
READ MORE: Police say 14-year-old boy suffered ‘life-changing injuries’ in horror bus smash on M53 which killed 15-year-old girl and the driver as tributes begin flooding in for tragic victims
The paramedic, who checked the girl over at the scene, said: ‘She was crying her eyes out. She was in shock and said it was horrible and very scary.
‘I think some of the older kids helped her out. She said she thought she was going to die in the bus.’
He added: ‘The bus was a mess. The children were in shock. It’s going to take a long time for them to get over, what they’ve seen.’
Local Labour councillor Sherin Akhtar told the Mirror he had driven past the bus moments after the crash with her 13-year-old daughter.
She said: ‘There were clearly casualties outside, there were pupils on the floor. My son was in the coach behind.’
Corrin Hickerton, whose child was in the same year as Jessica who passed away, wrote online: ‘I know that every family with children on those three buses were praying hard that it wasn’t their child’s bus that was involved.’
At the end of the school day on Friday, children from West Kirby Grammar were led to buses that took them home after the tragic news one of their fellow pupils had died.
Police officers were seen outside the school, while flowers had also been placed nearby, the Liverpool Echo reported.
Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Emily Spurrell paid tribute to the victims in a statement.
A witness said children were escaping out of the back window after the crash on the M53
Police guard a bridge overlooking the scene where a school bus has crashed and overturned on the M53 motorway
‘I want to send my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the two people who have tragically lost their lives and all those affected by the incident on the M53 this morning’, she said.
‘I cannot begin to understand the distress of those who were travelling on the coach and the worry of the families of those involved.
‘This was an awfully tragic incident that occurred on a busy stretch of motorway during rush-hour, and I’d like to offer my sincere gratitude to all our emergency service personnel for their swift response in both responding to the needs of the victims and securing a very challenging scene.’
Justin Madders, the MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, added: ‘The news that two lives have been lost following the crash on the M53 this morning is devastating and my heart goes out to the loved ones of the schoolgirl and driver who have died today.
‘Many children will have gone to school on that motorway today and on countless other days without incident and it is an absolute tragedy that such an everyday occurrence has resulted in these fatalities.
‘The local community and the school community will no doubt be traumatised by the events of today and there will be professional help for those who have been affected. Finally, I would like to thank the emergency services for their response’.
A photo of the stricken bus on the side of the M53 motorway yesterday
Emergency services were called on Friday shortly after 8am to reports of an overturned coach on the northbound M53 near to junction five at Hooton, Cheshire
Alison McGovern, the Labour MP for Wirral South, shared on X, formerly known as Twitter: ‘News that a school on the Wirral has lost one of our precious young people is incredibly hard to bear.
‘My heart goes out to their family and friends. I am also thinking of the loved ones of the driver of the vehicle and I am so sorry that this dreadful incident has happened.
‘I know that our emergency services will have done every possible thing to save lives at the scene and I am so grateful to them. In weeks and months ahead, the investigation will provide much needed answers on this terrible crash.’
The leader of Wirral Council, Paul Stuart, also released a statement which read: ‘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.’
Meanwhile, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer shared: ‘My heart goes out to everyone affected by the tragic accident on the Wirral this morning. Unimaginably sad news’.
Labour MP Dame Angela Eagle, who represents Wallasey, said her thoughts were with those impacted.
According to the local councillor for Upton By Chester, Sherin Akhtar, the crash involves children from Calday Grange Grammar School and West Kirby Grammar School for girls
‘I’m sure over the coming days we will find out what actually has happened with this crash and we will find out more information.
‘My thoughts are with all of those who have pupils at both schools and their families and also with the emergency services who have been having to respond to this incident as it has unfolded today,’ she told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme.
On its Facebook page yesterday morning Calday Grange Grammar School wrote: ‘We are aware of a situation involving one of our school buses on the motorway earlier today.
‘We are actively gathering details and assisting affected students and their families.
‘Support is available. If you need to talk or seek guidance, please reach out to our teaching and pastoral teams.’
West Kirby Gramma School also posted a similar message, adding ‘if you need to talk or seek guidance, please contact the school office’.
Other schools in the area also shared messages of condolence, including Ridgeway High School and South Wirral High School. Wirral Grammar School said a minutes silence would be observed in sport matches it is holding this weekend.
Local Policing Superintendent Sabi Kaur said that the force is appealing for witnesses and dashcam footage of the incident.
‘This was a truly horrific incident and the impact on this will have been felt far and wide not only in Wirral but across Merseyside’, he said.
‘Our thoughts are very much with the family and friends of the girl and the bus driver as well as with those who have been impacted by this incident and we will do everything we can to support them in the coming days and weeks.
A stretch of motorway on the M53 is closed after the incident yesterday morning
‘We would ask anyone who witnessed the collision or believes they have captured something significant to contact us as a matter of urgency.
‘We would also ask the public to avoid speculating on the incident or posting information or images which could be distressing for the families and those involved.
‘Anyone with information about the collision is asked to call the Matrix Serious Collision Investigation Unit on (0151) 777 5747 or [email protected] or contact @MerPolCC on Twitter or Merseyside Police Contact Centre on Facebook quoting reference 23000944471.
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