A MAN is in hospital with serious spinal injuries after a smash which closed the M1 motorway through South Yorkshire yesterday.
The 21-year-old student, from London, was a rear seat passenger in a silver BMW which was struck by a silver Nissan Micra - causing both drivers to lose control of their cars and plunge down an embankment.
Police said the Nissan driver had swerved into the path of the BMW because a car travelling in front had swerved to avoid hitting a large plastic mud guard lying in the road.
When the cars left the motorway they smashed into a number of trees before coming to a standstill.
The collision happened on the southbound carriageway of the M1 just after Junction 38 at Haigh.
Police said the injured BMW passenger was airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary.
The 25-year-old driver of the BMW and three other passengers in his car - men aged 23, 24 and 27 - escaped with minor injuries.
The Nissan driver - an 18-year-old man from Penistone - was taken to hospital with his 12-year-old passenger, but they were both later discharged with minor injuries.
Witnesses to the incident at around 3.45pm should call South Yorkshire Police on 0114 2202020 and quote incident 744 of February 6.