Family members killed swerving to avoid deer

First published in Wallingford

THREE members of the same family were killed when the driver of their car swerved to avoid a deer and slewed off the road before crashing into a tree.

The relatives had all been out earlier in the day and had enjoyed an Indian meal a short time before the tragic crash happened.

A coroner heard that a newlywed and her sister lost their husbands and their father in the crash at the end of a happy family day out to celebrate the bride’s wedding.

Siblings Sarah Pain, 29, and Angela Hughes-Brooks, 37, were the only survivors when Sarah’s new husband, Andrew Pain, swerved to avoid the deer on the A4074 in Oxfordshire.

The Mercedes saloon slid sideways off the road and hit two trees at around 60mph.

Financial analyst Andrew, 31, graphic designer Greg Brooks, 39, and the two women’s father, Stephen Hughes, a 57-year-old lawyer, were declared dead at the scene of the crash.

The Oxfordshire coroner heard how Mr Pain and his new American wife, who lived in London, had thrown a wedding celebration party at his parents’ home in Oxfordshire on Saturday, June 2, for friends who couldn’t travel to their wedding in Baltimore, USA, 10 weeks earlier.

On the Monday afterwards, family members had enjoyed a countryside picnic before going out for a meal at an Indian restaurant in nearby Henley-on-Thames.

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However, tragedy struck on the journey home as darkness fell around 9.45pm.

In a statement read out on her behalf, Mrs Pain said: “The atmosphere in the car was good. It had been a good day and we were all talking. I remember seeing a deer – it wasn’t a large deer, it was a small deer. When we came around the bend, it was there in the headlights. All I can visualise is that deer, I don’t know what happened after that.”

The inquest heard how sober Andrew “violently snatched” to the left to avoid the animal in the road.

Mrs Pain’s sister Angela, of Maryland, USA, who was in the front passenger seat, clambered out of the vehicle and, despite having broken wrists herself, flagged down a coach driver who immediately called 999.

Oxfordshire coroner Darren Salter recorded three verdicts of accidental death.

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