A40

How endless HGV traffic is ruining the best place to live in Wales

If you’re looking for a town to enjoy a splendid walk and a locally-sourced latte then you’ll struggle to find a better spot than Usk.

In fact if you go by the Sunday Times’ Best Place to Live[1] guide you won’t find a better spot in the whole of Wales than the quaint Monmouthshire town.

There is a farmers’ market and plenty of independent shops and galleries as well as cafes vying to produce the best fare using local produce. And there’s nothing like enjoying all that goodness in the glorious afternoon sunshine while a 34-tonne articulated lorry chugs down the pavement towards you. Right?

Sometimes you might even get a clout around the ear while you’re walking down the town’s Bridge Street or while taking in the view from the bridge over the river.

“I have been hit multiple times,” said Kathryn Challenger, who has lived in the area all her life – moving from house to house in the same street. “But it gets worse – they come straight over the bridge here and crash into the walls,” she explains from her home directly opposite the bridge. “It’s dangerous and can be quite scary.”

Kathryn Challenger, who has lived in Usk all her life, said she has often been hit by lorries while walking over the bridge
Kathryn Challenger, who has lived in Usk all her life, said she has often been hit by lorries while walking over the bridge (Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)
Bridge Street in Usk, where lorries are cramming through the town again as pandemic restrictions have eased
Bridge Street in Usk, where lorries are cramming through the town again as pandemic restrictions have eased (Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)

We wait for what feels like five minutes to cross the road at the end of the bridge while two 30-tonne lorries carrying chickens pass by as well as three other equally large vehicles. As they pass the traffic comes to a standstill while the lorries try not to hit each other, the sides of the bridge, and even people’s homes.

Kathryn points: “Look at this one. There are chickens in there. Just a couple of weeks ago one like that went straight into the wall. Sometimes they don’t even realise they’ve done it. But imagine if someone had been walking there.”

The town actually has a ban on lorries coming through that weigh more than 7.5 tonnes – brought in more than 40 years ago after protests over environmental concerns, but issues remain – and residents believe it is due to poor enforcement. Difficulties pinpointing banned vehicles arise because some lorries that are over the weight limit are allowed through Usk to deliver goods.

“Some of them that do come over are ridiculous,” Kathryn added. “I think half of them aren’t allowed to be here – but what can we do?”

There are alternative routes. Lorry drivers could get off at the A449 at Raglan and travel via the A40 or head to the Coldra roundabout.

Residents pointed out that earlier in the pandemic when temporary traffic lights were used at the town’s main Bridge Street road to help social distancing on the narrow pavements – causing traffic pile-ups – considerably fewer lorries used the town as a “rat run”.

The bridge over the Usk in the town centre
The bridge over the Usk in the town centre (Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)

Liam Ellis, who drives a 34-tonne truck from Raglan transporting straw to farmers, said he is allowed to travel through Usk, but regularly receives abuse when he reaches Bridge Street – with some motorists refusing to move out of his way in protest.

“It’s not pleasant at all,” he said. “Sometimes I find myself waiting to be shouted at. There is clearly a problem because we’re allowed to drive through there but Usk is an absolute nightmare to drive through. But for me it’s the only logical route to get to my customers.

“A solution could be a separate foot bridge adjacent to the existing bridge so the road at the bridge can be widened for vehicles and people aren’t walking across there. I know it can’t carry on like this. Something needs to be done but I don’t know what the best solution is.”

What are the biggest issues in your area? Check out what people are flagging up and report your own using this handy tool:

There are regular instances of lorries meeting at particularly narrow points in the road before incidents of road rage inevitably ensue. Lorries have also been entangled in scaffolding while resident Angela Colclough said she has seen vehicles “destroy hanging baskets” from the front of people’s homes.

“It’s ridiculous really and it can get you down at times,” she said. “Slowing the vehicles down might discourage them. Perhaps we could do with some speed bumps. The clear answer is another road around the town but I don’t think that will happen now. Why don’t they fine them heavily? If there is no punishment for banned lorries it’ll keep happening.”

Angela Colclough
Angela Colclough (Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)
Lorries meeting at Bridge Street, which residents and traders say is very common and is dangerous
Lorries meeting at Bridge Street, which residents and traders say is very common and is dangerous (Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)
Bridge Street in Usk, where lorries above the 7.5-tonne weight limit are actually banned unless they're delivering to businesses
Bridge Street in Usk, where lorries above the 7.5-tonne weight limit are actually banned unless they’re delivering to businesses (Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)

Gwent Police said they would only be able to issue fines if they caught a vehicle going across a limit-restricted bridge and then took the vehicle to a weighbridge to find out how much it was over the restriction.

A group of residents and councillors set up a ‘lorry watch’ scheme intended to report banned vehicles to Monmouthshire County Council’s trading standards team but they said they’ve had minimal success in getting banned vehicles punished and have turned attention to “discouraging rather than preventing”.

Councillor Alec Leathwood, who helps run the scheme and was one of the first to get the weight limit introduced in the town more than 40 years ago, said: “I remember lying in the road in protest all those years ago. We’ve been battling for a long time but we’re still stuck with it.

“We had quite a few volunteers but people got fed up because vehicles were being reported and then not much was getting done. We’ve now accepted that there seems to be no way to keep heavy-goods vehicles out but we can discourage them.

“We try to do that by being visible while identifying vehicles that have no right to be here and by campaigning for changes to the road to make drivers aware they’re coming into a very different area. We could also do with better signage so lorry drivers know what the restrictions are well before they get to Usk – not when it’s too late.

“We just hope there isn’t a major incident. Fortunately, so far, we’ve got away with it.”

There is signage around the town warning lorry drivers about the weight limit but councillor Alec Leathwood said there needs to be better signage on the way into Usk
There is signage around the town warning lorry drivers about the weight limit but councillor Alec Leathwood said there needs to be better signage on the way into Usk (Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)
It's a common sight in Usk
It’s a common sight in Usk (Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)
There are also weight limit signs at the car parks in the town
There are also weight limit signs at the car parks in the town (Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)

A spokesman for Monmouthshire council said: “There is advanced warning of the weight restriction on the A466 and A4042 so we would anticipate the majority of HGVs travelling through the town would have a requirement to do so – or are contravening the restriction in the full knowledge of their actions.”

Martin Sholl, the joint owner of Number 49 tea room in Bridge Street, said he’s noticed HGV traffic increasing significantly in recent weeks as lockdown restrictions eased. Authorised lorries that are above the weight limit deliver to the business but he said a balance needs to be struck.

“[Bridge Street] is back to being full again and the challenge we have is when two meet and the wing mirrors are well over the pavement either side,” he said. “It doesn’t just cause traffic issues – we’ve had people hit by them. The issue is this road is used as a thoroughfare and that is unlikely to change until there is better enforcement.”

Martin Sholl
Martin Sholl (Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)
Lorry drivers have called for the bridge to be widened by removing the pavement and having a separate foot bridge
Lorry drivers have called for the bridge to be widened by removing the pavement and having a separate foot bridge (Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)

He said he “isn’t convinced” the majority of lorries that pass through are authorised. “Many vehicles that come through from Blackwood don’t stop in Usk – they use it as a shortcut to the M50,” he added. “I’ve taken photos of some lorries and you just think to yourself: ‘My goodness, you should not be here’.”

Lynne Morgan at Bunnings of Usk builders’ merchants said: “I don’t think there was any point in the [weight limit] ban in the first place. We need the deliveries and I can’t see a solution that pleases everyone.”

References

  1. ^ Best Place to Live (www.walesonline.co.uk)

Mother swerved by mistake in crash that killed four of family

A mother killed in a car crash with three of her children did not deliberately swerve the vehicle into the path of a lorry, a coroner ruled yesterday, despite evidence that she had been arguing with her husband.

Zoe Powell, 29, a mother of four, died with her daughter Phoebe, eight, when their people carrier collided with the lorry in October. Simeon, six, and Amelia, four, died later in hospital.

Their father Josh survived along with Penny, six months old, who was thrown from the vehicle because her infant’s seat was not strapped in properly.

The family were returning home to Chinnor, in south Oxfordshire, when they crashed at 9.53pm on the A40 at Wolvercote, north Oxford.

The couple had collected their children from Worcester,

Mummy blogger, 29, did not ‘deliberately’ swerve car into HGV

Coroner ‘can’t rule out possibility’ that mummy blogger, 29, ‘deliberately’ veered family car into on-coming HGV – killing herself and three of her four children – after rowing with husband

  • Zoe Powell, was killed with Amelia, four, and Phoebe, eight, and son Simeon, six
  • Their silver Subaru collided with a HGV on the A40 near Oxford on October 12
  • Daughter Penny and husband Josh survived, although he has lost memory
  • Senior coroner Darren Salter said he did ‘not consider it likely’ it was deliberate
  • Mrs Powell was driving the car when it swerved in front of lorry without warning 

The husband of a mother killed in a horror crash with her three children said today ‘the actions of a single moment have wrecked an entire family’.

Artist and mummy blogger Zoe Powell, 29, accidentally swerved their car into the path of a 36-ton lorry after a weekend spent arguing with her husband.

An inquest heard today that Mr Powell decided to drop their four children off at their grandparents’ Worcester home because he had to work in Bristol on October 10.

Two days later he and his wife went to pick them up after having dinner.

Mrs Powell – said to ‘not overly enjoy driving’ – drove the family back in their silver Subaru when the accident happened at 9.53pm on the A40 overbridge at Wolvercote, towards Oxford. 

Her husband, who spent months in hospital, says he has no memory of the crash. The inquest heard that distraction, fatigue or driver error may have caused Mrs Powell to swerve  – but the coroner added ‘I can’t rule out the possibility it was a deliberate act’.

In a statement from Mr Powell and other relatives after the inquest today, he said: ‘Whilst there is much that we will never fully understand about the crash, it is helpful to comprehend some of the potential explanations of what led to it.

‘We thank the police, coroner and crash investigators for their hard work and thoroughness in it all.

‘The possibility that such a small distraction may have caused such a horrific accident should act as a painful reminder for everyone that roads are dangerous places; the actions of a single moment have wrecked an entire family and had a lasting impact on everyone around them.

‘Whilst it may be unpleasant to conceive, there is not a single driver who has not been in a similar situation but by luck alone they have avoided a serious crash.’

Consultant pathologist Professor Ian Roberts confirmed the mother-of-four and her eight-year-old daughter Phoebe had died instantly from multiple injuries, while Amelia and six-year-old Simeon died in John Radcliffe Hospital.

Mr Powell survived and their 15-month-old Penny was ejected from the people carrier during the crash but survived the ordeal.  

There was no CCTV or dashcam footage of the accident but following her tragic death, telephone analysis revealed Zoe had been dealing with a marital argument before her death and had suffered ‘broken sleep’ over the weekend.

A photo of Mrs Powell and her children released by her family after the inquest's concluded

A photo of Mrs Powell and her children released by her family after the inquest's concluded

A photo of Mrs Powell and her children released by her family after the inquest’s concluded

Zoe Powell, 29, with Phoebe, eight, Simeon, six, Amelia, four, and her husband Joshua, 30. The couple also have an 18-month-old daughter Penny - not pictured - who survived the crash

Zoe Powell, 29, with Phoebe, eight, Simeon, six, Amelia, four, and her husband Joshua, 30. The couple also have an 18-month-old daughter Penny - not pictured - who survived the crash

Zoe Powell, 29, with Phoebe, eight, Simeon, six, Amelia, four, and her husband Joshua, 30. The couple also have an 18-month-old daughter Penny – not pictured – who survived the crash

Zoe Powell, was killed alongside daughters Amelia, four, and Phoebe, eight, and son Simeon, six, when their silver Subaru collided with a HGV on the A40 near Oxford

Zoe Powell, was killed alongside daughters Amelia, four, and Phoebe, eight, and son Simeon, six, when their silver Subaru collided with a HGV on the A40 near Oxford

Zoe Powell, was killed alongside daughters Amelia, four, and Phoebe, eight, and son Simeon, six, when their silver Subaru collided with a HGV on the A40 near Oxford

Investigating officer PC Lyndsey Blackaby said: ‘She appeared to have been awake at 6am on October 12.

‘Zoe was a much-loved and active member of the community, clearly devoted to her four children, her marriage and her faith.’

Today sitting in the inquest was heartbroken Mr Powell, his parents Kevin and Sue and his late wif’s father John Milroy. Appearing over video link was Zoe’s aunt Diana, her mother Vivienne and her devastated brother.

In a statement read to the court, Mr Powell said: ‘On October 10 I was looking after my four children due to my wife suddenly leaving the house after an argument. I was due to drive to work in Bristol so I drove the children to my parents’ house in Worcester.

‘We went to collect the children on October 12, I had worked the day shift in Barking. We drove to get the children and that is my last recollection, being at my parents house in the evening….my next memory is six to seven days after the collision.

‘I would normally drive at night, Zoe had passed her test in 2010 but she did not overly enjoy driving, she only did it to get from A to B. Zoe would find driving stressful…she mostly drove locally but two to three times a month she would drive further afield.

Zoe Powell, 29, with her daughter Phoebe, eight, who were both killed by the car crash

Zoe Powell, 29, with her daughter Phoebe, eight, who were both killed by the car crash

Zoe Powell, 29, with her daughter Phoebe, eight, who were both killed by the car crash

The Powell children who died in the tragedy last year, Simeon, Phoebe and Amelia

The Powell children who died in the tragedy last year, Simeon, Phoebe and Amelia

The Powell children who died in the tragedy last year, Simeon, Phoebe and Amelia

Our Family: tribute from relatives today

‘The conclusion of the police investigation and the publication of the coroner’s inquest bring closure to what has been a very difficult part of the wider family’s lives.

‘Whilst there is much that we will never fully understand about the crash, it is helpful to comprehend some of the potential explanations of what led to it.

‘We thank the police, coroner and crash investigators for their hard work and thoroughness in it all.

‘The possibility that such a small distraction may have caused such a horrific accident should act as a painful reminder for everyone that roads are dangerous places; the actions of a single moment have wrecked an entire family and had a lasting impact on everyone around them.

‘Whilst it may be unpleasant to conceive, there is not a single driver who has not been in a similar situation but by luck alone they have avoided a serious crash.

‘Driving is not as safe as we sometimes wish it was. We all have a duty to always drive to the best of our abilities and ensure that we keep the roads as safe as possible.

‘As a family we encourage the wider public to learn from our heartbreak and please make sure they make the right choices when driving on the road.

‘It is hard to find the words to pay tribute to the loss we have suffered. We are very grateful that Zoe, Phoebe, Simeon and Amelia carried themselves excited by the joy of life.

‘In doing so they have left us with an abundance of happy memories that we can reflect back on fondly. The memories of past joy balance the reality that we will make no more memories together and it is hard to escape the wondering of what life would be like if they were still here.

‘We miss them all greatly but are very glad of the times we had together, and as Christians we find rest knowing that their experience in heaven with Christ surpass anything they knew on earth.

‘We have been touched by the depth of support and generosity that has been provided by friends, family, the church and wider community. This has carried us through some very difficult times.

‘We’d like to thank everyone who has wrapped their arms around us and supported us physically, financially and emotionally.

‘Our thoughts go to those who were at the crash scene that bore witness to this horrific accident, especially the lorry driver.

‘As a family we hold no ill feelings and hold no responsibility towards him, we recognise that none of his actions led to the accident.

‘Our hope is for peace for all who have been troubled by the collision and its aftermath. By the grace of God, Josh and Penny have survived this horrific crash with amazingly minimal long term physical impairment.

‘This is in no small part thanks to the public at the crash itself, the hard work of the emergency services and those within the NHS who provided treatments.

‘As we have learnt more of the events before and after the accident, we are blown away by the depth of humanity shown by the emergency services and the huge effort they made to try to save everyone, especially Simeon and Amelia.

‘We have witnessed first-hand the hard work that has gone into Josh and Penny’s treatment, and seen the amazing transformation in restoring their ability to live life.

‘We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved who has worked to not only help Josh & Penny survive but give them their lives back.

‘The family wish to thank the press for respecting our privacy up to this point, this space has helped us grieve and process the horrific events.

‘We hope that this respect continues as everyone involved tries to rebuild.’

 

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‘I brought the multimac rear seat in the summer of 2019, I brought it second hand and installed it myself. All the children travelled well, they would bicker between themselves and they would always sit in the same seats.’

Today the coroner heard how the infant’s seat had not been strapped in properly, allowing baby Penny to be ejected from the car from the force of the collision.

The court heard how the family had been driving along the A40 towards Oxford when it ‘swerved violently’ into the path of a Spanish goods vehicle weighing 36 tonnes.

Lorry driver Adao Patricio – who had been driving at 42mph at the time of the crash and was uninjured – said: ‘The car was less than one lorry’s length away from me when it changed direction and crossed into my lane.. It came across very quickly, it came at me so fast I did not have time to break.’

Following a collision investigation, PC Murray Maclean speculated the reasons that Mrs Powell could have swerved into the path of an oncoming lorry, which included fatigue and distraction which may have affected her steering.

However, he concluded there was insufficient evidence to back up these theories. PC Maclean added: ‘There were no defects that would have contributed to the collision, no trace of alcohol or drugs in Mrs Powell, no evidence that she suffered from any medical episode.

‘I find no evidence that could account of this definitive action on her part.’

Senior coroner Darren Salter recorded a cause of death by Road Traffic Collision.

He said: ‘There is no evidence that this was a deliberate act but as the collision investigator says there is nothing to rule out this as a possibility, I have to at least consider it.

‘There had been arguments that weekend between Zoe and Josh there were relationship issues being worked, through I’ve seen evidence of telephone messages.

‘Zoe appears positive and displays a positive attitude in her last messages, there is no evidence in the messaging or any other evidence that Zoe had thoughts of harming herself or the children.

‘I can’t rule out the possibility it was a deliberate act as the collision investigator says, but I do not consider it likely. It’s more likely to be due to fatigue or distraction, or a combination of the two, and that the steering input was driver error. The cruise control was engaged and at the last moment that accelerator was pressed in error instead of the brake which is a phenomenon sometimes seen.

‘At around 9.50pm on October 12 last year, Zoe Powell was driving her family east towards oxford on the A40 overbridge at Wolvercote when the car crashed onto the wrong side of the road and collided with an oncoming lorry resulting in the deaths of Zoe Powell and her children, Phoebe, Simeon and Amelia.’

The mother-of-four who was killed in the fatal collision ran two companies, one where she sold story books and Biblical paper goods, and another where she sold a diary to help new mothers cope. Her company website featured a heartwarming family portrait where she could be seen cuddling in a tree with three of her children and her husband.

Zoe Rose Powell ran Zoe Prose and The Mama Book, two online companies where she marketed her artistic talents and colourful designs, neighbours confirmed. She also had a controlling interest in Skylark and Hare Ltd., a company focused on artistic creation the construction of railways, which her husband, Joshua Kevin Powell, was the director of. The Mama Book company was part of Skylark and Hare Ltd.

Mrs Powell, on her The Mama Book website, said: ‘The mama book is a journal and community that was born out of my own need for a space- a physical place to write and focus and reflect on motherhood.

‘When I created this journal for myself I was feeling overwhelmed by the everyday demands of having three young children. One day in the middle of the craziness of having three 3 and unders underfoot I filled a notebook with all the thoughts about mothering that were filling up my head.

‘Since then I have used it daily, tweaked it and refined it. It is the space I wish I had been able to give myself when my first baby was born, and a space that I am continuing to use through each season of mothering.

‘The mama book is all about bringing you some mental space in the midst of motherhood. Giving you a reason to press pause, and a chance reflect on both your big dreams and also the minutiae of your day-to-day, so that you can head back out into each season of mothering with joy and purpose. It is about inspiring us to keep our eyes on both the small moments that matter and the bigger picture.’

References

  1. ^ Dan Sales For Mailonline (www.dailymail.co.uk)

Tributes to mum and three kids who died in horror lorry crash

A 29-year-old mother and three of her children died after their car collided with an oncoming lorry on the A40, Buckinghamshire Live reports[1].

Zoe Powell and children Phoebe, eight, Simeon, six, and Amelia, four, were killed in the crash on the A40 near Oxford on October 12 last year.

Husband Josh and the couple’s youngest child, 18-month-old Penny, were also passengers in the family’ Subaru and survived the crash, which took place at around 9.50pm in the evening.

An inquest at Oxford Coroner’s Court, which concluded today (Thursday, June 10 2021), heard the couple had collected their four children, who had been staying with Mr Powell’s parents in Worcestershire, and were returning to their home in Chinnor, close to the Bucks border, when the crash took place.

To get the latest email updates from South YorkshireLive, click here[2].

Mrs Powell, from Sheffield, was driving the family’s people carrier, which had a specialist car seat system attached to allow the four children to sit beside each other on the back seat.

The inquest heard the crash happened when the Subaru swerved into the path of a fully-laden Renault 480 lorry on the opposite side of the road.

Darren Salter, senior coroner, said he could not rule out the possibility this was a “deliberate act” – but added that he did not consider it likely and that there was “no evidence” that Mrs Powell had thoughts of harming herself or her children.

“It’s more likely to be due to fatigue or distraction, or a combination of the two, and that the steering input was driver error,” Mr Salter said.

Zoe and three of her children died in the crash, with husband Josh and their 18-month-old baby fighting to stay alive

“The cruise control was engaged and at the last moment the accelerator was pressed instead of the brake, which is a phenomenon sometimes seen in these circumstances.”

He reached a conclusion of road traffic collision for Mrs Powell and her three children, and said their deaths occurred when their car “crashed on to the wrong side of the road and collided with an oncoming lorry”.

Mrs Powell, an artist and author, and daughter Phoebe were both pronounced dead at the scene – with the cause of their deaths given as multiple injuries.

Son Simeon and daughter Amelia were taken to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital, where they later died. Simeon’s cause of death was recorded as traumatic brain injuries while Amelia suffered a severe head injury.

Mr Powell, a railway engineer, said he had no memory of the crash and his last recollection was being at his parents’ home that evening in a statement read out at the inquest.

Lorry driver Adao Patricio described seeing the Subaru approaching on the opposite side of the road before “suddenly” changing direction and swerving into the lane he was driving on.

He told the inquest: “I had nowhere to go. The car came across onto my side of the road very quickly – I don’t know how that could even happen.

“It was travelling fast but I would not say it was travelling at excess speed. I didn’t have time to brake before the car hit my lorry.”

Mr Patricio said his lorry weighed 18,000kg and had a full cargo of 18,000kg, meaning a combined weight of 36,000kg.

The Powell family

The inquest heard youngest daughter Penny was thrown out of the car by the impact of the collision and was found crying on the ground by drivers who had stopped after the crash.

In a report, investigating officer Pc Lyndsey Blackaby said Penny received first aid at the scene and was later discharged from hospital.

Mr Powell was extracted from the wreckage of the Subaru and spent several months in hospital recovering from serious injuries.

Describing Mrs Powell, Pc Blackaby said: “Zoe Powell was a much-loved, respected and active member of the community.

“She was clearly devoted to her four children, her marriage and her faith.”

The inquest heard an investigation did not find any issues with Mr Patricio’s driving before the collision and there was “no clear reason” why the Subaru swerved into the path of his lorry.

Pc Murray Maclean, a forensic collision investigator, said he could find no evidence of braking or loss of control on the road prior to the impact.

Data recovered from the Subaru showed it was steered to the right, then to the left, and the accelerator was fully pressed down in the seconds before the crash.

Pc Maclean said Mr Patricio had “no real chance” of avoiding what happened.

The coroner described the incident as “tragic” and offered his condolences to the families of Mrs Powell and her husband, who attended the hearing.

In a statement issued through Thames Valley Police following the inquest, the family thanked police and the coroner.

The statement read: ““The conclusion of the police investigation and the publication of the coroner’s inquest bring closure to what has been a very difficult part of the wider family’s lives.

“Whilst there is much that we will never fully understand about the crash, it is helpful to comprehend some of the potential explanations of what led to it.

“We thank the police, coroner and crash investigators for their hard work and thoroughness in it all.

“The possibility that such a small distraction may have caused such a horrific accident should act as a painful reminder for everyone that roads are dangerous places; the actions of a single moment have wrecked an entire family and had a lasting impact on everyone around them.

“Whilst it may be unpleasant to conceive, there is not a single driver who has not been in a similar situation but by luck alone they have avoided a serious crash.

“Driving is not as safe as we sometimes wish it was. We all have a duty to always drive to the best of our abilities and ensure that we keep the roads as safe as possible.

“As a family we encourage the wider public to learn from our heartbreak and please make sure they make the right choices when driving on the road.

“It is hard to find the words to pay tribute to the loss we have suffered. We are very grateful that Zoe, Phoebe, Simeon and Amelia carried themselves excited by the joy of life.”

Paying tribute, they added: “In doing so they have left us with an abundance of happy memories that we can reflect back on fondly. The memories of past joy balance the reality that we will make no more memories together and it is hard to escape the wondering of what life would be like if they were still here.

“We miss them all greatly but are very glad of the times we had together, and as Christians we find rest knowing that their experience in heaven with Christ surpass anything they knew on earth.

“We have been touched by the depth of support and generosity that has been provided by friends, family, the church and wider community. This has carried us through some very difficult times.

“We’d like to thank everyone who has wrapped their arms around us and supported us physically, financially and emotionally.

“Our thoughts go to those who were at the crash scene that bore witness to this horrific accident, especially the lorry driver.

“As a family we hold no ill feelings and hold no responsibility towards him, we recognise that none of his actions led to the accident.

“Our hope is for peace for all who have been troubled by the collision and its aftermath. By the grace of God, Josh and Penny have survived this horrific crash with amazingly minimal long term physical impairment.

“This is in no small part thanks to the public at the crash itself, the hard work of the emergency services and those within the NHS who provided treatments.

“As we have learnt more of the events before and after the accident, we are blown away by the depth of humanity shown by the emergency services and the huge effort they made to try to save everyone, especially Simeon and Amelia.

“We have witnessed first-hand the hard work that has gone into Josh and Penny’s treatment, and seen the amazing transformation in restoring their ability to live life.

“We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved who has worked to not only help Josh & Penny survive but give them their lives back.

“The family wish to thank the press for respecting our privacy up to this point, this space has helped us grieve and process the horrific events.

“We hope that this respect continues as everyone involved tries to rebuild.”

References

  1. ^ Buckinghamshire Live reports (www.buckinghamshirelive.com)
  2. ^ click here (www.leeds-live.co.uk)

Oxfordshire: Mum and three children died after car swerved into ‘fully-laden lorry’ on other side of road

A mother and her three children died when their car swerved into the path of a “fully-laden” lorry on the other side of the road, an inquest heard.

Zoe Powell, 29, together with daughters Amelia, four, and Phoebe, eight, and six-year-old son, Simeon, were killed in the crash on the A40[1] near Oxford at around 9.50pm on 12 October 2020.

Mrs Powell’s husband, Josh, and their youngest child, Penny, 18 months, were also passengers in the family’s Subaru people carrier – but survived the crash.

The crash was likely caused by “fatigue and distraction”, said senior coroner Darren Salter at Oxford Coroner’s Court.

The couple were returning to their home in Chinnor, Oxfordshire[2], after collecting their children, who had been staying with Mr Powell’s parents in Worcestershire[3].

Mrs Powell was driving the vehicle, which had a specialist car seat system attached to enable the four children to sit next to each other on the back seat.

The coroner said he could not rule out the possibility that the crash was a “deliberate act” – but added that he did not consider it likely.

There was “no evidence” that Mrs Powell had thoughts of harming herself or her children, he told the court.

“It’s more likely to be due to fatigue or distraction, or a combination of the two, and that the steering input was driver error,” Mr Salter said.

“The cruise control was engaged and at the last moment the accelerator was pressed instead of the brake, which is a phenomenon sometimes seen in these circumstances.”

The coroner reached a conclusion of road traffic collision as the cause of death for Mrs Powell and her three children.

Their deaths occurred when their car “crashed on to the wrong side of the road and collided with an oncoming lorry”.

Railway engineer Mr Powell said in a statement how he had no memory of the crash.

In an emotional tribute, he described feeling an “abundance of loss”[4].

Lorry driver Adao Patricio said his lorry and cargo weighed 18,000kg each, totalling 36,000kg. He told how he had “nowhere to go” when the Subaru swerved into the lane he was driving on.

An investigation found no issues with Mr Patricio’s driving before the collision and there was “no clear reason” why the Subaru swerved into the path of his lorry, the inquest heard.

PC Murray Maclean, a forensic collision investigator, said Mr Patricio had “no real chance” of avoiding what the car.

In a statement issued through Thames Valley Police, the families said there was much they would “never fully understand about the crash”.

“The possibility that such a small distraction may have caused such a horrific accident should act as a painful reminder for everyone that roads are dangerous places; the actions of a single moment have wrecked an entire family and had a lasting impact on everyone around them,” they said.

References

  1. ^ crash on the A40 (news.sky.com)
  2. ^ Oxfordshire (news.sky.com)
  3. ^ Worcestershire (news.sky.com)
  4. ^ he described feeling an “abundance of loss” (news.sky.com)

Mum and three kids killed in head-on collision with lorry

A MOTHER and her three children died when their family car collided with an oncoming lorry on its way back from Worcestershire.

Zoe Powell, 29, and children Phoebe, eight, Simeon, six, and Amelia, four, were killed in the crash on the A40 near Oxford at about 9.50pm on October 12 2020, an inquest heard.

Her husband Josh Powell and their youngest child Penny, aged 18 months, were also passengers in the family’s Subaru people carrier and survived the collision.

Oxford Coroner’s Court heard the couple had collected their four children, who had been staying with Mr Powell’s parents in Worcestershire, and were returning to their home in Chinnor, Oxfordshire, at the time.

Mrs Powell was driving the family car, which had a specialist car seat system attached to allow the four children to sit beside each other on the back seat.

The inquest heard how the crash happened when the Subaru swerved into the path of a fully-laden Renault 480 lorry on the opposite side of the road.

Senior coroner Darren Salter said he could not rule out the possibility this was a “deliberate act” but he did not consider it likely.

He added there was “no evidence” that Mrs Powell had thoughts of harming herself or her children.

“It’s more likely to be due to fatigue or distraction, or a combination of the two, and that the steering input was driver error,” Mr Salter said.

“The cruise control was engaged and at the last moment the accelerator was pressed instead of the brake, which is a phenomenon sometimes seen in these circumstances.”

He reached a conclusion of road traffic collision for Mrs Powell and her three children, and said their deaths occurred when their car “crashed on to the wrong side of the road and collided with an oncoming lorry”.

Mrs Powell, an artist and author, and daughter Phoebe were pronounced dead at the scene, with the cause of their deaths given as multiple injuries.

Son Simeon and daughter Amelia were taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, where they later died. Simeon’s cause of death was recorded as traumatic brain injuries while Amelia suffered a severe head injury.

In a statement read to the inquest, Mr Powell, a railway engineer, said he had no memory of the crash and his last recollection was being at his parents’ home that evening.

Lorry driver Adao Patricio described seeing the Subaru approaching on the opposite side of the road before “suddenly” changing direction and swerving into the lane he was driving on.

“I had nowhere to go. The car came across onto my side of the road very quickly – I don’t know how that could even happen,” Mr Patricio said.

“It was travelling fast but I would not say it was travelling at excess speed. I didn’t have time to brake before the car hit my lorry.”

Mr Patricio said his lorry weighed 18,000kg and had a full cargo of 18,000kg, meaning a combined weight of 36,000kg.

The inquest heard youngest daughter Penny was thrown out of the car by the impact of the collision and was found crying on the ground by drivers who had stopped after the crash.

In a report, investigating officer Pc Lyndsey Blackaby said Penny received first aid at the scene and was later discharged from hospital.

Mr Powell was extracted from the wreckage of the Subaru and spent several months in hospital recovering from serious injuries.

Describing Mrs Powell, Pc Blackaby said: “Zoe Powell was a much-loved, respected and active member of the community.

“She was clearly devoted to her four children, her marriage and her faith.”

An investigation did not find any issues with Mr Patricio’s driving before the collision and there was “no clear reason” why the Subaru swerved into the path of his lorry, the inquest heard.

Pc Murray Maclean, a forensic collision investigator, said he could find no evidence of braking or loss of control on the road prior to the impact.

Data recovered from the Subaru showed it was steered to the right, then to the left, and the accelerator was fully pressed down in the seconds before the crash.

Pc Maclean said Mr Patricio had “no real chance” of avoiding what happened.

The coroner described the incident as “tragic” and offered his condolences to the families of Mrs Powell and her husband, who attended the hearing.

In a statement issued through Thames Valley Police, the families said there was much they would “never fully understand about the crash”.

“The possibility that such a small distraction may have caused such a horrific accident should act as a painful reminder for everyone that roads are dangerous places; the actions of a single moment have wrecked an entire family and had a lasting impact on everyone around them,” they said.

Tragic crash families hope motorists ‘can learn from our heartbreak’

T

he families of a mother and three of her children who died when their family car collided with an oncoming lorry have urged people to “learn from our heartbreak” and make the right choices when driving.

Zoe Powell, 29, and children Phoebe, eight; Simeon, six; and Amelia, four, were killed in the crash on the A40[1] near Oxford[2] at about 9.50pm on October 12 last year.

Her husband, Josh Powell, and their youngest child, Penny, aged 18 months, were also passengers in the family’s Subaru[3] people carrier but survived the collision.

An inquest into their deaths took place at Oxford Coroner’s Court on Thursday, with senior coroner Darren Salter[4] recording that Mrs Powell and her three children died as a result of a road traffic collision.

In a statement issued through Thames Valley Police following the hearing, the families said the inquest had brought closure to a “very difficult part” of their lives.

“Whilst there is much that we will never fully understand about the crash, it is helpful to comprehend some of the potential explanations of what led to it,” they said.

Driving is not as safe as we sometimes wish it was. We all have a duty to always drive to the best of our abilities and ensure that we keep the roads as safe as possible.

“We thank the police, coroner and crash investigators for their hard work and thoroughness in it all.

“The possibility that such a small distraction may have caused such a horrific accident should act as a painful reminder for everyone that roads are dangerous places; the actions of a single moment have wrecked an entire family and had a lasting impact on everyone around them.

“Whilst it may be unpleasant to conceive, there is not a single driver who has not been in a similar situation but by luck alone they have avoided a serious crash.

Driving[5] is not as safe as we sometimes wish it was. We all have a duty to always drive to the best of our abilities and ensure that we keep the roads as safe as possible.

“As a family we encourage the wider public to learn from our heartbreak and please make sure they make the right choices when driving on the road.”

The families said it was hard to find the words to pay tribute to their loss and described how Mrs Powell, Phoebe, Simeon and Amelia “carried themselves excited by the joy of life”.

“In doing so they have left us with an abundance of happy memories that we can reflect back on fondly,” they said.

“The memories of past joy balance the reality that we will make no more memories together and it is hard to escape the wondering of what life would be like if they were still here.

“We miss them all greatly but are very glad of the times we had together, and as Christians we find rest knowing that their experience in heaven with Christ surpass anything they knew on earth.”

The families thanked support and generosity provided by friends, family, the church and wider community following the deaths.

They said: “Our thoughts go to those who were at the crash scene that bore witness to this horrific accident, especially the lorry driver.

“As a family we hold no ill feelings and hold no responsibility towards him, we recognise that none of his actions led to the accident.

“Our hope is for peace for all who have been troubled by the collision and its aftermath. By the grace of God, Josh and Penny have survived this horrific crash with amazingly minimal long-term physical impairment.

“This is in no small part thanks to the public at the crash itself, the hard work of the emergency services and those within the NHS who provided treatments.

“As we have learnt more of the events before and after the accident, we are blown away by the depth of humanity shown by the emergency services and the huge effort they made to try to save everyone, especially Simeon and Amelia.

“We have witnessed first-hand the hard work that has gone into Josh and Penny’s treatment, and seen the amazing transformation in restoring their ability to live life.”

The families thanked those involved with helping Mr Powell and Penny survive, as well as giving them “their lives back”.

References

  1. ^ A40 (www.standard.co.uk)
  2. ^ Oxford (www.standard.co.uk)
  3. ^ Subaru (www.standard.co.uk)
  4. ^ Darren Salter (www.standard.co.uk)
  5. ^ Driving (www.standard.co.uk)

‘We’ll make no more memories together’: Family’s heartbreaking tribute as mum and three children found to have died after car struck lorry

The family of a woman and her three children who were killed in a fatal crash on the A40 near Oxford have paid them a heartbreaking tribute after investigations into their deaths concluded today.

Mum blogger Zoe Powell, 29, from Chinnor, died at the scene along with her three children – Phoebe, aged eight, Simeon, aged six and four-year-old Amelia – when their silver Subaru people carrier was involved in a crash with a HGV on the A40, just west of Oxford in October last year.

Her husband Josh Powell, 30, survived the crash along with their then-18-month-old daughter Penny.

An inquest into their deaths found Mrs Powell and her three children died after she steered the family car into the path of a fully-laden lorry.

Recording a conclusion of death following a road traffic collision, senior coroner Darren Salter said there was no evidence to suggest that Mrs Powell had deliberately swerved the Subaru into the lorry. He could not rule out fatigue or distraction as factors that contributed to the crash.

The inquest at Oxford Coroner’s Court this morning heard that the Powell family were on their way home from Mr Powell’s parents’ home in Worcestershire when the crash happened.

Portuguese lorry driver Adao Patricio was driving towards Witney on the A40 at around 9.50pm when the Subaru swerved into his lane on the bridge over the railway and canal.

He said: “I had nowhere to go. The car came across into my side of the road very quickly.”

The lorry, which weighed 36 tonnes, was driving at around 42mph.

Following the inquest’s conclusion, the Powell family said: “The conclusion of the police investigation and the publication of the coroner’s inquest bring closure to what has been a very difficult part of the wider family’s lives.

“Whilst there is much that we will never fully understand about the crash, it is helpful to comprehend some of the potential explanations of what led to it.

“We thank the police, coroner and crash investigators for their hard work and thoroughness in it all.

“The possibility that such a small distraction may have caused such a horrific accident should act as a painful reminder for everyone that roads are dangerous places; the actions of a single moment have wrecked an entire family and had a lasting impact on everyone around them.”

They added: “Driving is not as safe as we sometimes wish it was. We all have a duty to always drive to the best of our abilities and ensure that we keep the roads as safe as possible.”

The devastated family also paid tribute to Mrs Powell and her three children, saying: “It is hard to find the words to pay tribute to the loss we have suffered. We are very grateful that Zoe, Phoebe, Simeon and Amelia carried themselves excited by the joy of life.

“In doing so they have left us with an abundance of happy memories that we can reflect back on fondly. The memories of past joy balance the reality that we will make no more memories together and it is hard to escape the wondering of what life would be like if they were still here.

“We miss them all greatly but are very glad of the times we had together, and as Christians we find rest knowing that their experience in heaven with Christ surpass anything they knew on earth.

“We have been touched by the depth of support and generosity that has been provided by friends, family, the church and wider community. This has carried us through some very difficult times.

“We’d like to thank everyone who has wrapped their arms around us and supported us physically, financially and emotionally.

“Our thoughts go to those who were at the crash scene that bore witness to this horrific accident, especially the lorry driver.

“As a family we hold no ill feelings and hold no responsibility towards him, we recognise that none of his actions led to the accident.

“Our hope is for peace for all who have been troubled by the collision and its aftermath. By the grace of God, Josh and Penny have survived this horrific crash with amazingly minimal long term physical impairment.

“This is in no small part thanks to the public at the crash itself, the hard work of the emergency services and those within the NHS who provided treatments.”

An online fundraiser for Mr Powell and Penny raised more than £162,000. The JustGiving page was set up just hours after Mr Powell and his daughter were taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital following the crash.

The family added: “As we have learnt more of the events before and after the accident, we are blown away by the depth of humanity shown by the emergency services and the huge effort they made to try to save everyone, especially Simeon and Amelia.

“We have witnessed first-hand the hard work that has gone into Josh and Penny’s treatment, and seen the amazing transformation in restoring their ability to live life.

“We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved who has worked to not only help Josh & Penny survive but give them their lives back.

“The family wish to thank the press for respecting our privacy up to this point, this space has helped us grieve and process the horrific events.

“We hope that this respect continues as everyone involved tries to rebuild.”