‘I am just glad it’s over’ says husband whose wife was in labour during A1(M) gridlock crash near Stevenage

The A1(M) northbound remains closed after a serious crash.

The A1(M) northbound remains closed after a serious crash. - Credit: Archant

A fatal crash on the A1(M) on Tuesday morning left a mum-to-be in labour stuck in traffic chaos after the road was shut.

Gary Payne and his wife Tracy drove straight into the lengthy tailbacks after setting off to Stevenage’s Lister Hospital at 6.45am after Tracy went into labour at home.

Sandwiched between cars on the A1(M), Gary’s mother-in-law who was with them replied to a radio travel update and suddenly the family found themselves on the airwaves speaking to BOB FM presenter Graham Mack.

Other drivers sent texts and photos to the DJ to let him know where the ambulance, which was already on its way to them, was and also relayed reassuring messages to Tracy and Gary.

After the ambulance crew finally reached them, it had to battle through the traffic to take them to the hospital in Coreys Mill Lane.

They arrived at about 9.30am, and daughter Melody was born at 1.59pm.

Father-of-five Gary told the Comet: “It was a very strange day, we were so happy to have the baby but the stress of all the traffic.

Most Read

“You would have thought we would have been used to it by now, but every birth is so different.

“And there was all the worry of first Tracy being in labour, and then the traffic – we could never have planned for that.”

The couple stayed in hospital over night after Melody was delivered by forceps, but Tracy, 37, and Gary were allowed to go home yesterday.

Gary, who works in St Albans and lives in Welwyn Garden City, said: “You just feel so helpless and frustrated because there is absolutely nothing you can do.

“For the last three to four weeks my wife has had high blood pressure, which can be harmful to both her and the baby so in the end we called the ambulance.

“It was very scary as obviously we were doing all we could.

“We didn’t know if we were wasting their time but we didn’t know what else to do in the situation.

“When we got to hospital they said Tracy was in full labour and that her blood pressure was 190/100, which is really high – they will hospitalise you at 140/100.

“Melody was finally born at 1.59pm – we were just glad it was all over.”

The northbound carriageway of the A1(M) was closed between Junction 6 for Welwyn and Junction 7 for Stevenage after the crash, in which the driver of a black Vauxhall Astra VXR, believed to be a man in his 30s, died at the scene.

Police are appealing for information. PC Robert Hauxwell, from the Beds, Cambs and Herts Road Policing Unit said: “Our thoughts are with the man’s family and friends at this very sad time.

“I am appealing for anyone who witnessed the collision or who saw the vehicle being driven prior to it, to contact me as soon as possible.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the unit via the non-emergency number 101.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter