Mum and three children died after car crashed into oncoming lorry

A mum and her three children were killed when their car swerved onto the wrong side of the road and smashed into an oncoming lorry.

The crash, which took place at around 9.50pm on October 12 last year, killed Zoe Powell, 29, daughter Phoebe, 8, son Simeon, 6, and daughter Amelia, 4. 

Dad Josh and the couple’s youngest child, 18-month-old Penny, were the only two who survived the disaster after being treated in hospital. 

Now, an inquest into the devastating deaths has concluded Zoe and her children died in a road traffic collision. 

The family’s Subaru ‘suddenly’ veered onto the opposite side of the A40, in Oxfordshire, and crashed into a Renault 480 lorry which weighed 36,000 kilograms. 

The inquest has had to close without any ‘clear reason’ as to why the car swerved into the wrong side of the road. 

Whilst the senior coroner, Darren Salter, could not completely rule out the possibility of Mrs Powell deliberately swerving into oncoming traffic, there was ‘no evidence’ the mum had thoughts of harming herself or her children. 

Mrs Powell has been described as ‘clearly devoted to her four children, her marriage and her [Christian] faith’. 

Mr Salter said: ‘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 the accelerator was pressed instead of the brake, which is a phenomenon sometimes seen in these circumstances.’

The family were on their way back from Mr Powell’s parents’ house in Worcestershire to their home in Chinnor. 

Mr Powell has no memory of the crash but lorry driver Lorry driver Adao Patricio 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.’ 

Mrs Powell, an artist and author, was pronounced dead at the scene from multiple injuries, along with her daughter Phoebe.