THERE was 'no way to predict' a horrific head-on crash on the M40 that killed three people despite a warning about a driver five days before, a police watchdog has ruled.

A Subaru Forester towing a caravan was travelling the wrong way down the motorway when it smashed into two other cars near Tetsworth on Monday, October 15.

John Norton, 80, and Olive Howard, 87, both from High Wycombe, were killed, as well as the driver of a Ford Mondeo, Stuart Richards, 32, from Stockport.

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An investigation by the Independent Office of Police Complaints (IPOC) has concluded that Thames Valley Police (TVP) followed 'appropriate policies and procedures' in how it handled reports the Subaru had been involved in a crash on October 10.

A man called 999 and later made a report online after the vehicle hit his parked car in High Wycombe.

In the report he raised concerns over the Subaru driver saying they appeared to be 'slow to react'.

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The IOPC said the force's policy stated that due to a lack of independent evidence the report could have been closed. 

However, on October 12 it was assessed for further review because of the concerns raised and was passed to the relevant team. 

A statement from the watchdog said: "Our independent investigation concluded that the call handler graded and handled the 999 call on October 10 appropriately. 

"We also found that TVP acted in accordance with their policies and timescales in assessing the online collision report."

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The tragic events unfolded on October 15 after the elderly pair had been driving south in the fast lane of the northbound carriageway.

Moments later their Subaru collided with Mr Richards’ Ford Mondeo and a Ford Focus.

Dashcam footage recorded just before the crash showed panicked drivers swerving into the middle lane to avoid the Forester as it sped up the outside lane at around 4pm.

The busy M40 carriageway was closed for 14 hours while emergency services attended the scene and resurfacing work took place.

Regional director Sarah Green said: “This was a terribly tragic incident and my thoughts and deepest sympathies remain with the families and friends of those who died.

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“We found that Thames Valley Police handled the initial emergency 999 call and the subsequent collision report appropriately and in line with its policies and procedures.

"There was no way to predict, from the information the force had, the catastrophic sequence of events that would result in the tragic loss of three lives.” 

The final report was passed on to Thames Valley Police in April and it has agreed with the watchdog's findings.