Young parents-to-be killed in lorry crash after give way sign was 'rotated the wrong way'

12 February 2024, 13:46

The young couple was killed after a lorry crashed into their Corsa at a junction with worn markings
The young couple was killed after a lorry crashed into their Corsa at a junction with worn markings. Picture: Social media

By Will Taylor

Two young expectant parents were killed in a car crash at a junction where the give way sign was "rotated" away.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Josh Alexander, 21, and Jessica Poole, 18, were killed when a lorry smashed into their car in Woodchurch, Kent, last June.

They were travelling to a Chinese takeaway job they had picked up to make some more money ahead of their son being born in November.

The inquest into their deaths heard how police believe a rotated give way sign and worn-down road markings might have contributed to the tragedy.

PC Simon Masterson, a forensic collision investigator with Kent Police, said Mr Alexander did not realise he was coming to a junction.

"The give way sign on Plurenden Road, which was 11 metres from the junction, was rotated by 61 degrees," he said.

"The road markings were heavily worn in several places. The approach triangle was also worn but discernible.

"There were no warning signs at Plurenden Road of the crossroads ahead. This could have caused confusion to the driver approaching.

Mr Alexander was killed at a junction on the way to extra work
Mr Alexander was killed at a junction on the way to extra work. Picture: Facebook

"The worn lines and the rotated sign could have been a contributing factor."

Footage taken from the dashcam of the skip lorry showed how Mr Alexander and Ms Poole's Corsa approaches the junction at a "constant speed" and did not show any sign of slowing down.

Mr Alexander looks calm and in control, within the 60mph speed limit, but he may have been distracted by his phone, with PC Masterson saying his arm appeared to stretch out to touch the device.

Read more: Man who flew from Heathrow to New York ‘without a passport’ detained at London coffee shop after 'urgent' search

It is thought he could have been using a navigation app, having only moved to the area in April.

"Josh failed to recognise he was approaching a junction," PC Masterson said.

"He interacts with a mobile phone immediately before entering Bethersden Road.

"His actions suggest he was not aware of the junction ahead."

The officer tested three apps that failed to alert a crossroad was ahead.

Ms Poole was killed just months before her due date
Ms Poole was killed just months before her due date. Picture: Facebook

There was also "nothing" the skip lorry driver could have done to avoid the accident.

Coroner Katrina Hepburn said she will write to Kent County Council asking what improvements have been made at the junction.

"There was nothing to suggest they were travelling at excessive speed," she concluded.

Read more: Sunak insists economy ‘has turned a corner’ despite prospect UK could go into technical recession by end of the week

"Whilst we speculate about whether or not he saw the sign, or if the mobile phone was in use, I don't make any findings in relation to this.

"The crash caused significant and catastrophic injuries and the deaths were due to a road traffic collision."

Kent County Council said: "We are aware of the inquests and we await the letter from the coroner.

Mr Alexander shared an image of a baby's onesie before the tragedy
Mr Alexander shared an image of a baby's onesie before the tragedy. Picture: Facebook

"Whenever there is a serious or fatal crash on one of our roads we work with Kent Police, expert engineers and coroners to investigate any causation factors that are identified.

"Once these are known we carry out any work deemed to be needed to help mitigate a similar incident from happening again.

"One death on our roads is one too many and we will continue to make sure we keep our roads safe."

Mr Alexander's father Ben Sissens described his son as his "proudest achievement" and called for the junction to be made safer.

"If he was doing 40mph, he may have seen the road markings a bit easier," he said.

"What has happened is horrific. It has ripped the families apart and I want to make sure other babies can go home to their families.

"I've spoken to the other driver and I have told him we don't blame him."

Aimee Poole, Ms Poole's mother, said: "Jessica was a beautiful girl. She was my best friend and I would choose her company over anyone.

"The huge gap left in my life is indescribable."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

x

'Miracle' as schoolboy, 12, 'lucky to be alive' after toppling from toilet of moving coach onto motorway

Exclusive
'I just had to disappear': Carol Vorderman shares how grief led her to runaway following death of co-star Richard Whiteley

'I just had to disappear': Carol Vorderman shares how grief led her to runaway following death of Richard Whiteley

Alan Hansan

Ex-Liverpool captain Alan Hansen discharged from hospital

Manchester Airport boss apologises after 'power spike' sees mass cancellations as he gives flight status update

Flights from Manchester Airport 'expected to resume' on Sunday as travel boss apologises for mass cancellations

The highest temperatures of the summer are expected this week

Yellow heat-health alerts signal warm weather for most of England as temperatures to hit 30C

Passengers have been queuing for hours at Manchester Airport

All flights from two terminals at Manchester Airport cancelled as passengers urged not to travel

Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice

Amanda Abbington forced to call police after being bombarded with death threats from troll fans of Giovanni Pernice

Exclusive
Robert Buckland has split from the PM and Home Secretary

Senior Tory splits from PM and Home Secretary as he calls for those involved in betting scandal to be suspended

James Cleverly joined LBC for Sunday with Lewis Goodall

Conservative candidate who described Rwanda policy as ‘crap’ did so to ‘shock his audience’, Home Secretary says

Jay

Jay Slater's father and brother make emotional pleas for return of the missing teenager

Michael Gove

Betting scandal as bad for Tories as Partygate, Michael Gove warns

42C heat has hit Europe this week

Extreme weather hits holiday hotspots in Europe with 42C heat and ‘meteo-tsunami’ as Brits warned before booking trip

Live
Home Secretary, James Cleverly

General Election LIVE: Cleverly tells LBC Sunak is 'right' not to suspend Conservatives involved in betting scandal

Passengers have been queuing for hours at Manchester Airport

Passengers flying through Terminals 1 and 2 at Manchester Airport told ‘do not travel’ after huge power cut

Jay Slater had travelled to the Canary Islands for a music festival

Jay Slater's mum issues desperate plea after Spanish police reject help in search for missing Brit

Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelensky has reportedly slammed Nigel Farage for his controversial comments about the West provoking the invasion of the country.

Zelensky says Farage 'infected by Putinism' as Reform leader doubles down on Ukraine comments