Family release statement after inquest into A40 crash that killed Chinnor mother and her three children

The Powell family released a statement hoping for peace to all those involved in the 'horrifying' accident.

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 4:01 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th June 2021, 4:04 pm

A Chinnor family have released a statement following the inquest into the A40 accident that killed a mother and three of her children.

Four members of the Powell family from Chinnor passed away after a collision between their car and a lorry on October 12 2020 at around 21:50.

Zoe, 29, steered her car onto the wrong side of the road and clashed straight on with a lorry. Zoe, and her children Phoebe, eight, Simeon, six, and four-year-old Amelia died. Josh Powell, who was a passenger, and his 18-month old daughter survived despite sustaining serious injuries following the collision.

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The Powell Family

The Powell family released a detailed family statement after an inquest revealed fatigue and distraction may have caused the accident.

In a statement released by the families of Zoe, Phoebe, Simeon and Amelia 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.

“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."

Speaking at Oxfordshire Coroner's Court, Darren Salter, Oxfordshire's head coroner, said: "I think it is more likely that there was fatigue or distraction, or a combination of the two."

Before the coroner added, that the mother was: "devoted to her children, marriage and faith". He also said he couldn't rule out the possibility the act was done deliberately although he concluded tiredness was a more likely explanation.

The family statement continued: "“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.”