‘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.”
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