UK

M62 Crash Victim Bethany Jones Was 'Loved By Everyone'

29/04/2013 18:51 BST | Updated 29/04/2013 18:53 BST

The brother of the 18-year-old woman killed in a horrific motorway crash as she travelled to a hen party has said his sister was "loved by everyone".

Student nurse Bethany Jones, 18, was killed and 20 other women were hurt when their bus collided with a lorry on the M62 near Pontefract, West Yorkshire, on Friday.

m62 crash

Ryan Jones said he was 'proud' of his sister going to university

They were travelling from the small former mining town of South Elmsall to Liverpool for a hen night to celebrate the forthcoming wedding of Stefanie Firth.

Miss Firth, 24, remains in Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) along with six other women seriously injured in the crash, one in intensive care.

Tonight, Miss Jones's brother Ryan Jones told ITV Calendar News: "She was loved by everyone round here.

"Nobody could say a bad word about our Bethany.

"Just at university this year, her first year, the first child to go to university.

"So, as a brother, a big brother, I'm so proud of her.

"And she always looked up to me."

Mr Jones said: "She was the most beautiful, caring girl I've ever met."

Oil rig worker Mr Jones said he only arrived home from Australia at the weekend.

His mother, Diane, and other sister, Amy, were also injured in the crash.

Miss Jones worked at the Barnsley Oak pub, in South Elmsall, where her cousin, Mark Larkin, is the landlord.

Mr Larkin told Calendar News she was a "little, bubbly girl" with "everything to look forward to".

He said: "I'm just going to miss her loads, everybody's going to miss her loads. And the main thing now is to just...all the community just come together and hope the other girls come out all right."

On Sunday a vigil was held in South Elmsall to remember Miss Jones and pray for the women who were injured.

Miss Firth is said to have serious spinal injuries as well as a ruptured spleen.

Her fiance - Gary Leafe - is said to be maintaining a vigil at her bedside.

His mother, Lesley Leafe, is also reported to be among the seriously injured still detained at the LGI.

An eighth woman is in hospital in Middlesbrough.

The crash happened at about 11.30am on Friday soon after the hen party set off from South Elmsall.

The driver of the lorry was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and has been released on bail, police said.

The collision, near the exit slip road at junction 32 westbound, left the minibus on its side across a carriageway and luggage strewn across the motorway.

Those first at the scene talked of finding a mass of bodies in the stricken vehicle.

And firefighters called the crash "the worst they had seen in a number of years".

Six air ambulances were called to the scene.

Now friends of those who were injured have launched an appeal to raise money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance - which was not actually one of those which attended the incident due to maintenance.

One of the web pages devoted to the appeal says: "We are two 10-year-old girls from South Elmsall.

"We have decided to do a five-mile fun run to raise funds for Yorkshire Air Ambulance after it gave much-needed help and support to 21 ladies from our village who were injured in a crash on the M62 on their way to a hen party.

"An 18-year-old girl from the end of my street was killed. So please give as much or as little as you can afford - every penny helps."

South Elmsall town councillor Steve Tully, who knows many of those still being treated in the LGI, said the area was reeling from what he called the worst 72 hours of his life.