CRASH TRAGEDY Parents-to-be, 21 & 18, killed in lorry crash died after Give Way sign ‘turned the wrong way’

 Josh probably didn't know that he would have to give way because of 'faded marks'

Two young parents have died in a horror crash at a "treacherous" junction where a Give Way sign was "turned in the wrong direction".

Josh Alexander, 21, and Jessica Poole, 18, who were expecting a baby, died when their car was hit by a lorry in Woodchurch, Kent, in June last year.

The couple had been going to work doing takeaway deliveries to earn extra cash ahead of the arrival of their newborn, who they were "excited" to meet.

This comes just weeks after Josh shared a photo of a baby giggle, a positive pregnancy test and a scan of their son inside the womb.

Captioning a March 19 Facebook post, the father-to-be said: "November 2023. See ya."

They were headed to Happy Valley Chinese, where they had their shifts, when the horrific accident occurred. Inquiries on Friday revealed police heard that "heavily worn" road signs and a roundabout sign near the intersection could have contributed to the incident. crash.

Giving evidence, PC Simon Masterson, forensic collision investigator at Kent Police, said Josh failed to recognize that he was approaching a junction as he drove westbound along Pleurenden Road.

Mr Masterson said: “The way sign on Pleurenden Road, which was 11 meters from the junction, was rotated by 61 degrees.

“Road markings were badly damaged at many places. The approach triangle was also worn out but clear.

“There were no warning signs at Pleurenden Road ahead of the intersection. This could have confused the approaching driver.

"The worn lines and rotated symbol may be a contributing factor."

The inquest heard that dashcam footage of a skip lorry traveling on Bethersden Road showed the Corsa approaching the junction.

PC Masterson described Josh as "calm" and "in control of the vehicle".

The footage showed that there was "no deceleration" by the Corsa, which approached the intersection at a "constant speed".

But the video also shows that Josh was briefly distracted by his phone.

PC Masterson said: "I believe his hand was outstretched to touch the phone."

The inquest at Oakwood House in Maidstone heard Josh had used sat nav apps on his phone for directions while driving.

It is believed he was checking one of these apps just before unknowingly crossing the junction and going into the path of an oncoming DAF skip lorry.

Based on the footage it was found that Josh would have been driving between 50mph and 56mph, within the 60mph limit for Plunderden Road.

PC Masterson said: “Josh failed to recognize that he was approaching a junction.

“He talks on a mobile phone just before entering Bethersden Road.

“His actions show he was not aware of the junction ahead.”

While Josh is believed to have been using the sat nav app on his phone as he visited the area in April, it is unclear what specific app he was on at the time of the accident.

During the investigation, PC Masterson contacted the junction himself using Google Maps, Apple Maps and Waze, which are the most common sat nav apps.

All three of them failed to warn that there was a roundabout junction ahead.

With this in mind, and the worn marks and rotated markings, it was stated that Josh could not have known that he had to give way.

'Inevitable confrontation'
Regarding the driver of the skip lorry, PC Masterson said that "he was not physically able to do anything to avoid the collision."

He added: “Josh failed to recognize that he was approaching a junction.

"There is every possibility that he might have been distracted by the mobile phone he was talking on."

No drugs or alcohol were found in Josh or Jessica's system.

PC Masterson also noted that the front air bags of Josh's car had not deployed, but said it did not matter.

In conclusion, coroner Katrina Hepburn said: “There was nothing to suggest they were traveling at excessive speed.

“While we speculate about whether or not he saw the signal, or whether or not the mobile phone was in use, I do not draw any conclusions in relation to this.

"The accident caused significant and catastrophic injuries and deaths as a result of a road traffic collision."

The coroner said she would now write to Kent County Council (KCC)'s highways department to see what improvements had been made to the intersection. This will determine whether she writes a report to prevent future deaths.

A KCC spokesperson said: “We are aware of the inquest and we are awaiting a letter from the coroner.

“Whenever there is a serious or fatal accident on one of our roads we work with Kent Police, specialist engineers and coroners to investigate any causal factors identified.

“Once we become aware of this, we take any action we deem necessary to prevent a similar incident from occurring again.

“One death on our roads is one too many and we will continue to ensure we keep our roads safe.”

'to burst'
Speaking to KentOnline after the inquest, Josh's father, Ben Sissens, said he believed the roundabout approach is "treacherous".

"The national speed limit is 60mph, but if you're approaching a junction at that speed without any deceleration or notice, it's dangerous," he said.

"Many other rural roads have signs warning you to reduce speed or rumble strips warning of dangerous junctions."

Mr Sissens says he wants to pressure KCC to improve the safety of Pleurenden Road, which he says should not allow 60mph speeds with no warning of a junction ahead.

"If he had been going 40 miles an hour, he would have been able to see the road markings a little easier," he said.

“What happened is terrible. It has torn families apart and I want to make sure other kids can go home to their families.

The huge difference it has left in my life is indescribable."

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

"I don't blame her in any way, it was a devastating set of events and I don't want it to change her life. I don't want her to carry guilt."

He previously said that his son Josh was his "proudest achievement" and added that "I feel like that void can never be filled".

The inquest heard that Jessica was "very excited to meet her baby".

Her mother, Amy Poole, said: “Jessica was a beautiful girl.

“She was my best friend and I would choose her company above anyone else.

“The huge difference it has left in my life is indescribable.

"We must have told each other at least 20 times a day that we loved each other."

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