Yesterday (7th Feburary) at 4:12pm, an eight-vehicle crash took place on the A27, near Lewes. The crash followed a police pursuit at Southerham, in which the police were following a Mercedes (travelling at speed) that had been reported stolen from south-west London.
The pursuit began on the A23, slightly north of Pyecombe, before the Mercedes turned on to the A27. At the A23/A27 interchange it rammed a police car, before continuing on towards the eastern end of Lewes by-pass where it crashed, damaging various other vehicles.
Three men exited the convertible before attempting to escape the police. One swam across the River Ouse, but was captured on the opposite bank. He was brought to hospital whilst under arrest, along with another of the car’s occupants, who had suffered an arm injury in the crash.
Another driver involved in the collision sustained what may have been a broken collarbone and was also taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. Motorists were afterwards advised to avoid the area where the collision occurred.
Due to road closures it was recommended that drivers seek alternative routes as soon as they were able.
Sergeant Stacey Ellott from the Surrey and Sussex roads policing unit said: “We are aware that this is causing considerable disruption and we are working as swiftly as possible to reopen the road, but this will take some time and we thank people for their patience.”
Nic Goodman, 35, said he saw a car being pursued:
“I saw a white convertible way back on the A27 driving at speed with police following without lights.
“Then at the Ashcombe roundabout they stuck their lights on, and the convertible took off.
“Then at Southerham roundabout he crashed taking out the front of a truck and at least two other vehicles.”
Motorists also reported a large police presence and big tailbacks.
Jill Arscott, 59, of South Chailey, said:“We are less than half a mile from the Southerham roundabout, between that one and the Ashcombe roundabout.
“About four or five police cars converged on the scene.
“We have been here about 15 or 20 minutes – maybe even half an hour.
“The police cars have come back travelling west down the eastbound carriageway. Overhead there’s been a police helicopter hovering for some time, 20 minutes perhaps. It’s now gone.”
Anyone who witnessed the collision or any of the incidents leading up to it is asked to report online or call 101 quoting Operation Raydon.