10 June 2021

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

10 June 2021

The 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 near Oxford 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 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 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 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”.

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