POLICE have released the names of four family members killed in a head-on crash between a car and a lorry on one of Britain’s most dangerous roads.
David Cockburn, 48, his daughters Carley Ann Cockburn, 21, and Bethany Cockburn, 18, and Bethany’s 23-month-old daughter Lacie Jade Stephenson died in the accident near Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire yesterday afternoon.
The fifth family member is yet to be formally identified, Humberside Police said.
The family, who were from the Chester-le-Street, were travelling to a dance competition at Butlin’s holiday resort in Skegness, Lincolnshire at the time of the collision.
They were travelling with friends who were in other cars, police said.
The crash happened at 12.30pm yesterday near Oaklands Hotel on the A18 Grimsby Road, in Laceby, when the family’s Nissan Primera was in collision with a light goods vehicle.
Three members of the family died at the scene and two others died later in the nearby Diana Princess of Wales Hospital.
The driver of the lorry is thought to have sustained minor injuries.
Operations Superintendent Tracy Bradley, of Humberside Police, said: “Our deepest thoughts go out to the family and friends of those who were tragically killed in this collision which happened on the A18 yesterday. We are working closely with relatives of those who lost their lives and are supporting them through what will be a very difficult time.
“Roads policing officers are working closely with our collision investigation team to piece together the evidence we have gathered in order to try and determine what led to this tragic incident taking place and took the lives of those travelling in the Nissan at the time.
“We have spoken to a number of key witnesses already, however, if anyone saw the incident but has not come forward I would ask them to do so.”
A force spokesman said relatives of the family have asked to be left alone.
Chris Baron, resort director at Butlin’s Skegness, said: “We are all shocked and stunned by this tragedy and our thoughts go out to the extended families of the victims. Our team at Skegness is offering support and assistance to the other competitors and their families. We are working closely with the dance competition organisers.”
The road was closed for investigations but was reopened shortly after 10pm yesterday.
The Grimsby stretch of the A18 featured in a BBC television programme, Britain’s Most Dangerous Roads, in 2011, which claimed it was 25 times more dangerous than the average British motorway with 20 crashes in the previous three years.
It was also found to be the UK’s highest-risk stretch of road for car drivers in a nationwide survey by the Road Safety Foundation in 2010.
Hundreds of people left their condolences on a special Facebook page set up in tribute to the family.
More than 22,500 people had joined the R.I.P Cockburn Family page on the social networking site in just a few hours.
The page features photographs of the family, including some of Carley and Bethany wearing dancing costumes.
One person left a message which read: “So so sad xx dancing with the angels now x R.I.P xxx”
Another posted: “Dance in heaven beautiful angels x”
On a photo of Lacie, who would have turned two next month, one Facebook user wrote: “Sleep tight lacie a beautiful girl and now a precious angel”
Many people left anecdotes about the family on the page, with one describing Mr Cockburn as “a gentle kind man” who was “totally devoted to his family”.
A number of people had also posted tributes on Bethany’s personal Facebook page, on which she wrote that she was in a relationship with Garry Stephenson, a soldier in the Scots Guards, and described daughter Lacie as “Our world!”.
Carley and Bethany are believed to have been members of a dance school in Washington, Tyne and Wear.
A dance teacher from the Durham area, who did not want to be named, said the dancing community had been left “distraught” by the news of Carley and Bethany’s deaths.
She said: “It’s just the shock of it happening on the way to this festival. Everyone’s just totally distraught at the moment.”