Tragedy as Tiverton man Daniel Gunn is killed in M5 crash
FOOTBALLERS in the Tiverton area are coming to terms with the tragic death of a sportsman who was just 24 years old.
No formal identification had taken place at the time the Gazette went to press, but the dead man has been named locally as Daniel Gunn.
His untimely death was the result of a road traffic collision on the M5 motorway near Taunton, which also hospitalised two friends who were travelling in the same Citroen Saxo – Tom Pilling and Thomas Moyes.
Another group of players also drove past the scene of the accident on the way to another match.
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The M5 was closed for several hours on Saturday after the incident, which happened at around 6.15am on the southbound carriageway between junctions 25 and 26 at Taunton.
The Gazette understands that Mr Pilling and Mr Moyes have injuries which are serious but not life-threatening.
Mr Pilling was scheduled for an operation yesterday and was said to be getting better according to a family friend.
Pete Buckingham, first team manager at Elmore Football Club, said: "I knew Tom fairly well. He played for me for a couple of seasons and hopefully he will make a speedy recovery."
Elmore's team coach drove past the scene of the accident on Saturday morning on the way to a fixture in Wiltshire. By the time of the kick-off of the match, many of the players had learned that those involved in the accident were known to them.
Mr Buckingham said: "On the way up we saw the debris of the accident but we didn't think for a minute it would involve anyone we knew."
Mr Pilling is well-known in footballing circles having played for Tiverton, Elmore and Cullompton at various times. Both he and Mr Gunn have been involved in the sport from a young age, with more than 100 appearances each for youth side Twyford Spartans in their younger days.
Willand Reserves called off their Premier Division game against St Martins at the weekend as a mark of respect to Mr Gunn.
A number of Willand players knew him and were left distraught at the news, a sympathetic St Martins side agreed that under the circumstances it was better to postpone the match.
A rescue team used hydraulic cutting equipment to remove the three men and the two injured were taken to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton.
Avon and Somerset Police have appealed for information from witnesses who may have been travelling on the motorway at the time of the accident.
Sgt Jim Whatley, from the Roads Policing Unit, said: "This is a serious incident in which a young man has tragically lost his life. I am particularly keen to speak to anyone who was using the motorway network at this time who may have witnessed this collision."
Call police on 101.