A FAMILY has shared its heartbreak after a mum and three children were killed when her car swerved on to the wrong side of the road.
Relatives of Zoe Powell and her children – Phoebe, 8, Simeon, 6, and Amelia, 4 – said they “have left us with an abundance of happy memories”.
Zoe, 29, who was killed in a horror crash with her three children, did NOT deliberately swerve the people carrier into the path of a 36-tonne lorry, a coroner ruled today.
Her husband Josh, 30, and 18-month-old daughter Penny survived the crash after their Subaru collided with a HGV on the A40 near Oxford in October 2020.
Mummy blogger Zoe died at the roadside from multiple injuries along with daughter Phoebe, the inquest hearing was previously told.
The artist and author had dropped off their four children at their grandparents' home in Worcester.
Zoe, who found driving stressful, was returning to her family home to Glynswood Chinnor in their silver Subaru, with the children in their pyjamas, when the crash occurred at 9.53pm on the A40 overbridge at Wolvercote, towards Oxford.
Consultant pathologist Professor Ian Roberts confirmed that mother-of-four Zoe and Phoebe had died instantly from multiple injuries, while Amelia and Simeon were rushed to the John Radcliffe Hospital, Ox,.
Tragically, four year-old Amelia later died from a severe head injury while her older brother passed away just after 3am the next day from a traumatic brain injury.
The coroner heard how Penny was ejected from the people carrier during the crash but survived the ordeal.
In the horrifying scene, survivor Josh was cut from the vehicle before he was rushed to hospital – where he remained for "months" recovering from his traumatic injuries, the court heard.
There was no CCTV or dash-cam footage of the accident.
Zoe "was a much-loved and active member of the community, clearly devoted to her four children, her marriage and her faith," investigating officer PC Lyndsey Blackaby said.
In a statement read to the court, Josh said: "On October 10 I was looking after my four children… 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."
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 the car "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 told the inquest: "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."
Senior coroner Darren Salter recorded a verdict of "road traffic collision."
He said: "There is no evidence that this was a deliberate act."
The Coroner explained that he did "not consider it likely it was a deliberate act" as "it’s more likely to be due to fatigue or distraction, or a combination of the two".
Zoe 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.
The family today released a statement via Thames Valley Police, which 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.
“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.
"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."
Paying tribute to Zoe, Phoebe, Simeon, and Amelia, the family said: "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."
The family also thanked its many supporters, saying: “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."
Relatives said their "thoughts go to those who were at the crash scene that bore witness to this horrific accident, especially the lorry driver".
There was an update on the condition of both Josh and Penny, who "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.
“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 family's statement added.
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