A DAD fighting for his life alongside his baby after a horror crash has been told the devastating news that his wife and three young kids are dead.
Josh Powell, 30, is “trying to stay strong” for his 18-month-old daughter as the pair recover from tragic crash on the A40 near Oxford.
His wife Zoe, 29, died with her two daughters, Phoebe, eight, Amelia, four, and their six-year-old brother Simeon after their Subaru people carrier collided with a HGV on Monday night.
The father and daughter were rushed to hospital where they remain in a "critical but stable" condition.
Josh has been told the life-shattering news that his wife and three children were all killed, friends at the family's church in Chinnor, Oxfordshire, confirmed.
His heartbroken sister was too distraught to comment but pals revealed he underwent surgery today.
The religious family were popular in their close-knit village community andlocals have been left “devastated” by the tragedy.
He is devastated but he’s got a young baby to look after and he will hopefully pick up for this new life.
A church source told The Sun Online: “Josh is aware of the circumstances, the really tragic situation, and he is devastated but he’s got a young baby to look after and he will hopefully pick up for this new life.
“He will try to stay strong.
“They are a very faithful Christian family and their faith will help and we will all rally round.”
The woman added that Josh’s baby daughter was “making progress” at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
A JustGiving page to help raise funds for the family has been started by friends in the village.
The source said: “Funds donated will go towards caring for Josh and his daughter.”
'TRAGEDY AFTER TRAGEDY'
Neighbours revealed the family had been forced to leave their home after a devastating electrical fire a few months ago
Pals said Josh and Zoe were living in emergency accommodation with their children after suffering “tragedy after tragedy”.
Zoe's dad, William Milroy said the family were travelling to their temporary home when tragedy struck.
He told The Sun Online: "They were going home.
"I don’t know where they had been but they had recently moved into a new rented house after theirs had burned down."
Mr Milroy added: "They had moved from place to place but had rented a house long term and were just getting settled.
It’s dreadful news. That poor family have had nothing but bad luck.
Holding back tears, Mr Milroy added: "Police told us at 5am what had happened. They’ve gone."
He spoke after returning from the hospital with his wife to visit their son-in-law and baby granddaughter.
He said they had "no idea" how the horror crash had happened, saying: "Police will not even tell us exactly where it happened. They are still investigating."
Friends have described the accident as a "devastating shame".
Neighbour Alice Palmer, said: "It was only a few months ago that their house burned down, everything has gone, all of their memories were taken.
"It was an electrical fire, essentially they got out in their pyjamas and not much else, but they were planning to move back in.
Josh is now potentially going to wake up with his young daughter to care for and no possessions or memories.
“Josh is now potentially going to wake up with his young daughter to care for and no possessions or memories.
"I just cannot comprehend it, they were so religious, part of the community and the church. I have been crying all morning."
Brenda Newell, who lived opposite the family’s home, said: “The fire was during lockdown this year.
“It looked like it ripped the whole house apart.
“I used to say hello to the family in passing, they seemed like a lovely family, the kids were quiet. It’s devastating.”
Another said: “They were a lovely family. They were renting somewhere else in Chinnor in the meantime because there was a house fire, as you can see the whole house is boarded up. It is a devastating shame."
Another friend added: “It’s dreadful news. That poor family have had nothing but bad luck.
“Their home burnt down three or four months ago. There was a huge fire which is believed to have been caused by an electrical fault.
“They had to move out and were staying elsewhere.”
'WE ARE REELING'
Heartbroken villagers have left flowers and lit candles at two local churches in Chinnor .
Vicar Rev. Jacky Barr told The Sun Online: "The whole village is reeling. It is so horrific and there is a great sense of loss and sadness here.
"The three children went to the same local school so they have lost three pupils.
"We have opened our church which would normally be closed so people can pay their respects. Many are coming in in tears and are just so lost."
One tribute left at the community church reads: "The village is mourning for the loss of so many of such a beautiful family. Forever in our hearts."
Another person wrote: "Dear Zoe, Phoebe, Simeon and Amelia you have been taken so tragically. We are devastated as a family, honoured to of known you all. We pray for Josh and your little one. Sleep tight."
A witness to the carnage on Monday night said the family’s people carrier was left “crumpled like a can” from the smash.
David Patchett, 36, was the first person to arrive on the scene after hearing the crash from his house-boat moored nearby.
He said: “I was sat in my boat at the time when there was a loud explosion, a horrendous noise which shook through the boat.
“The first thing I saw was the lorry on the wrong side of the road and saw the driver was sat there okay.
“The car was in the middle of the road, it wasn’t just front-end damage it looked like it had been crumpled like a can.
It was a horrifying thing to see and my first thoughts were nobody had survived, that’s how bad it was.
“It was a horrifying thing to see and my first thoughts were nobody had survived, that’s how bad it was.
“While I was on the phone to police, the man regained consciousness and that’s when I started screaming down the phone ‘get someone here now.’"
Thames Valley Police said tragedy struck when the family's silver Subaru people carrier and a lorry collided near a railway overbridge.
Paramedics rushed to the scene on the A40 and were horrified by the wreckage, cops said.
Mrs Powell and her three children were all pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the HGV, a 56-year-old man, suffered minor injuries.
Mummy blogger Zoe often wrote about who much she loved being a mum and the "simple joys" of raising a family.
She posted: "There are crazy, messy, stressful moments, but they are also scattered through with many beautiful, every day, wonderful moments.
There are crazy, messy, stressful moments, but they are also scattered through with many beautiful, every day, wonderful moments.
"Things that we take for granted, which just are the way they are – like the cot they are lowered into, the pram we push, the car seat we buckle or the shoes we tie – they move on and change and we look back and realise that those everyday things were beautiful."
She also wrote about her "deep love" for painting with her young kids.
The mum also published her ‘Mama book’ – a yearly motherhood journal to support other parents to "count the joys" of raising a family.
The couple were married when they were 18 and 19 and in an anniversary photo Zoe described her railway engineer husband as her “best friend”.
She wrote in the touching Facebook post: "I am thankful for nine years of marriage to my best friend today.
"These years have been so full of so many things and I love getting to share it together.
“Who knew what these years would hold when we got married at 18 and 19!"
Anybody who was driving in the area at the time of the collision and witnessed what happened should contact 101, or make a report online, quoting reference number 43200321914.
Thames Valley also want any dash-cam footage of the incident or either of the vehicles just prior to the incident.
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