Mon, 31 Oct 2016
THE family of three children and a woman killed on the A34 have warned drivers not to use mobile phones behind the wheel.
Thomas Kroker was sentenced today (Monday) for four counts of death by dangerous driving after his lorry crashed into stationary traffic at 50mph.
Tracy Houghton aged 45, her two sons Josh and Ethan, aged 13 and 11, and her partner's daughter Aimee Goldsmith were killed instantly in the eight vehicle crash.
Kroker had been scrolling through music on his mobile phone for at least seven seconds in the build up to the horrific crash.
He was sentenced to 10 years for each death, to run concurrently.
The court was shown footage from Kroker's cab showing the moment's distraction that led to the tragic trash.
Following the sentencing Aimee's mother, Kate Goldsmith, issued a chilling warning to drivers using a mobile phone behind the wheel.
"I continue to see drivers using their phones, it sickens me.
"If they had seen the devastation they bought my family, or to other families, by breaking the law using phones illegally, distracting themselves from driving a potential weapon would they be as sickened as we are?"
She said that her daughter had wanted to be a vet when she grew up and the pet kitten she had had for Christmas "missed her very much."
Josh and Ethan's father, Doug, paid tribute to his "beautiful boys" and said they had been looking forward to going Pokemon hunting in London after the family holiday.
Aimee's father and Ms Houghton's partner, Mark Goldsmith, was traveling in the car behind with his son Jake.
Paying tribute he said: "Tracy was bubbly, a great mum and just loved to live life."
Thames Valley Police have released the following video, which main contain distressing scenes.
The family issued a joint statement following today's sentencing.
"Today Tomasz Kroker has been sentenced for killing much loved members of our family, however, in our eyes the sentence does not do justice to the crime committed.
"Tracy Houghton, her two sons Ethan and Joshua, and Aimee Goldsmith were innocent victims of his actions.
"To all intents and purposes, Mr Kroker's use of his mobile phone whilst driving, turned his lorry into a lethal weapon. He was so distracted he made no attempt to slow down.
"The sentence of 10 years in prison will not ease our pain and suffering, nor do we believe it will send a strong enough message to those who lack the self-restraint to not use their mobile phones whilst driving.
"Anyone using a mobile whilst driving is guilty of dangerous driving. It only takes a second of distraction to kill someone, destroying your life, your family's lives and those of your victim and their family.
"Today's outcome must serve as a reminder to us all of our responsibilities every time we drive and that decisions we make can be fatal.
"Our children lost their lives because of the reckless actions of Tomas Kroker, but we are not the only family to have suffered due to what is perceived by many, as a minor inconsequential crime, a crime that takes place on our roads every single day.
"We urge you to make a personal commitment to stop using mobile phones whilst driving and make our roads safer for everyone."