Pregnant teenager and boyfriend died in crash after road sign was turned the wrong way

Josh Alexander, 21, was killed along with his partner Jessica Poole, 18,
Josh Alexander, 21, was killed along with his partner Jessica Poole, 18,

A pregnant teenager and her boyfriend died in a crash after a give way sign had been turned the wrong way, an inquest heard.

Jessica Poole, an 18-year-old lifeguard, and Josh Alexander, 21, a personal trainer, died from their injuries at the scene of the crash in June last year.

The couple’s car collided with a skip lorry at the crossroad junction of Plurenden Road and Bethersden Road in Woodchurch, near Ashford.

Pc Simon Masterson, a forensic collision investigator at Kent Police, told the inquest: “There were no warning signs at Plurenden Road of the crossroads ahead. This could have caused confusion to the driver approaching.

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

The give way sign on Plurenden Road was rotated 61 degrees and road markings were faded in several places, the court heard.

The scene of the crash which left a pregnant teenager and her boyfriend dead,with give way sign circled
The scene of the crash with give way sign circled - GOOGLE MAPS

The couple had been on their way to work at a Chinese takeaway in Tenterden, to earn extra money before the arrival of their baby son.

Coroner Katrina Hepburn wrote to Kent county council to see what changes have been made to the junction since the accident before considering whether she will write a “prevention of future deaths” report.

The inquests in Maidstone heard that Mr Alexander was believed to have been using a sat nav app on his phone before accidentally driving his Vauxhall Corsa across the junction and into the path of the skip lorry.

Since the accident, the lines have now been repainted on the road and the give way sign has been put back to the correct position.

The skip lorry dash camera footage suggested that Mr Alexander was briefly distracted by his phone before he approached the junction.

Pc Masterson described him as looking “calm” and “in control of the vehicle” and footage showed there was “no deceleration” by the Corsa, which approached the crossroad at a “constant speed.”

He said: “His actions suggest he was not aware of the junction ahead.”

Based on the footage it was found the personal trainer was driving at a speed of between 50mph and 56mph, within the 60mph limit for Plurenden Road.

Josh Alexander is pictured with his mother Becky
Josh Alexander’s father has put pressure on the council to address the safety of Plurenden Road - FACEBOOK

Pc Masterson said there was “nothing the lorry driver was physically able to do to avoid the collision”. No drugs or alcohol were found in the couple’s system.

Ms Hepburn said: “There was nothing to suggest they were travelling at excessive speed.

“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.”

A council spokesman said: “We are aware of the inquests and we await the letter from the coroner.

“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, said he wants to put pressure on the council to improve the safety of Plurenden Road.

Mr Sissens 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. It was a catastrophic set of events and I don’t want this to change his life. I don’t want him to carry the guilt.”

Ms Poole’s mother, Aimee Poole, said: “Jessica was beautiful, caring, kind, considerate and funny.

“She was my best friend and I would choose her company over anyone. The huge gap left in my life is indescribable.

“We must have told each other we loved each other at least 20 times a day.”

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