M1 CLOSED UPDATE: a woman has died in a serious crash on the M1

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POLICE have closed the M1 this afternoon (Thursday) after a woman died in a crash.

A WOMAN has died following a two-vehicle crash on the southbound carriageway of the M1 near Rugby.

The woman, who has not yet been formally identified, was a passenger in a silver Mercedes car which was in collision with a white Mercedes Sprinter van travelling in the same direction. It is thought that she is not local.

Another man and woman, also in the Mercedes car, have been taken by air and land ambulance to University Hospital in Coventry with critical injuries.

The collision occurred at around 1.20pm between junctions 17 and 16 of the M1, just south of the Watford Gap services.

The van driver, a 30-year-old man from Reading in Berkshire, has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and is in custody at the Criminal Justice Centre in Northampton.

The northbound carriageway of the M1 is running but the southbound is gridlocked with queues stretching back to junction 20. The A5 is also very busy.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire Police said: “This situation is not likely to improve for the next hour or so. If you can avoid the area, please seek an alternative route.”

Witnessed to this collision, or anyone with information, should call the Drivewatch Hotline on 0800 174615.