Tragic road deaths have wiped out an entire family and several young people during one of the worst ever weeks on Cheshire’s roads. Police hope motorists will take heed as the clocks go back this weekend. DAVID HOLMES reports
LOVING images of the family who perished on the M6 motorway in Cheshire bring home the senselessness and devastation of road accident tragedies.
Tributes have poured in for Llandudno family David and Michelle Statham and their children Reece, 13, Jay, nine, Mason, 20 months, and 10-week-old Ellouise who died on the motorway near Sandbach after their car went under a lorry and exploded into flames on Monday night.
A 46-year-old Portuguese HGV driver, Paulo Jorge Nogueira De Silva, appeared before Crewe magistrates yesterday charged with six counts of causing death by dangerous driving.
But this side of the county has not escaped the carnage.
Among those to lose their lives were two former classmates at Bishop Heber High School in Malpas.
Josh Swift, 17, from Broxton, a performing arts student at The Hammond School in Chester, was crossing the A41 on the Chester side of the Broxton roundabout about to go to a party at 5.30pm last Friday when he was involved in a collision with a car.
Police officers from nearby Dragonhall Police Station did their best to keep him alive but there was little they could do.
The driver was said to be ‘distraught’. Josh’s parents were abroad and had to be contacted via Interpol.
His former class mate Lucinda Owen, 17, from Tilston, was in her blue Vauxhall Corsa when it left Tilston Road, Malpas, near to New Farm, passed through a hedge and was found in a field. Police believe she may have been there for several hours prior to be being discovered about 7.20am on Tuesday (October 21).
Lucinda, a gunner in the Royal Artillery, had just completed 14 weeks of phase one training at the Army Training Regiment in Pirbright, Surrey.
She was due to start her phase two Army training at the Royal School of Artillery at Larkhill, Wiltshire.
David Curry, headteacher of Bishop Heber High School, said: “No words of mine can adequately express the utter devastation felt by the whole school community at the tragic loss of Josh and Lucinda.
“Josh and Lucinda were both extremely vibrant young people; popular with staff and pupils who are struggling to cope with their shock and grief.”
A book of condolence has been opened at the school to allow the 1,000-plus pupils to pay tribute to the lives of their friends, and staff are considering ways that the school can celebrate their lives.
The school flag will fly at half mast for the rest of the half term.
At 4am on Wednesday a 24-year-old woman from Neston was pronounced dead at the scene in Chester Road, near Aldford, after her red Rover 25 MG hatchback was involved in a collision with a tree which flattened the roof.
Her 19-year-old female passenger from Huntington, Chester, who was cut free from the wreckage, was seriously injured and is fighting for her life in the Countess of Chester Hospital.
Police want to hear from anyone who saw the Rover and a blue Peugeot 306 being driven prior to the accident. An 18-year-old male has been arrested and released on bail.
This was the first fatal incident ever attended by three new Chester- based firefighters who were debriefed afterwards to help them deal with the experience.
Witnesses to any of the collisions are asked to call Sergeant Rachel Gallagher at Cheshire police on 01244 613163.