AN INCIDENT involving a dead badger led to a lorry driver dying in hospital and one of Oxfordshire’s main roads grinding to a halt yesterday.
Drivers were delayed for up to an hour as three of the four lanes of the A34 were closed for nine hours while police investigated and wreckage was cleared.
Last night Thames Valley Police said the incident would be referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Two lorries collided while a police officer was removing a dead badger from the A34 at Marcham at 3am yesterday.
Anthony Stansfeld, Police and Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley, said: “I am sure there will be an inquiry into this but it sounds like a very unfortunate accident. It will certainly be looked into.”
Police officers were called to the southbound carriageway of the A34 at 3am after reports that a dead badger was causing an obstruction.
Traffic was slowed down so the badger could be removed, but while this was happening the two vehicles collided.
Traffic queueing on the A34 southbound and into Abingdon
The driver of one of the lorries – which was owned by supermarket chain Budgens – was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford but later died of his injuries.
Yesterday morning the southbound carriageway of the A34 was closed between Botley and Didcot, while one lane was kept open on the northbound carriageway between Didcot and Abingdon.
The road was fully reopened shortly after midday.
A spokeswoman for Musgrave, the parent company of Budgens, said: “I can confirm that tragically a Budgens lorry has been involved in a fatal incident on the A34.
“We are working closely with the police to support them with their inquiries.”
She did not confirm the identity of the driver.
Deaths and serious injuries which may have been caused by someone serving with the police have to be referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
Thames Valley Police spokeswoman Rhianne Pope said that if a dead animal is causing an obstruction on the road and it is dangerous, then officers can be asked to remove it.
The force has confirmed that after discussing the issue with the IPCC, the incident was referred to the watchdog yesterday afternoon.
A spokesman for the IPCC said: “We will be carrying out an assessment to determine the level of our involvement.”
Highways Agency spokesman Katie Thompson said an assessment of the carriageway would need to be carried out to find out if any damage had been caused to the road surface.
She added that if repair work is required, it would be carried out overnight.