A Powys man who was charged with causing the death of a backseat passenger was not to blame for the fatal crash which a coroner has concluded as "unavoidable".

An inquest into the death of 53-year-old mother Jacqueline Sampson heard that Churchstoke man Samuel Windsor had "insufficient time to react or stop after he was suddenly blinded by the sun" before crashing his pickup truck into the people carrier in front causing catastrophic damage.

The hearing in Shrewsbury was told that Mrs Sampson died at the scene from unsurvivable spinal injuries from the crash on the A488 Colstey Bank between Bishop's Castle and Clun on a crisp and dry Saturday afternoon on November 20, 2021.

Her husband Glen, who was driving the car, said: "Our family has been devastated by this incident."

Mr Windsor's trial for causing death by careless driving did not go ahead after the prosecution offered no evidence.

County Times: Police officers dealt with a serious incident on the A488 north of Clun which was closed for some time on November 20, 2021Police officers dealt with a serious incident on the A488 north of Clun which was closed for some time on November 20, 2021

On the day of the crash, Mrs Sampson, from Rotherham, was travelling back to her brother's farm in Newcastle-on-Clun after a day out in Newtown with her husband, mother, son and his girlfriend.

While driving up Colstey Bank they noticed a blue Honda had slowed down and stopped at the brow of the hill because of the bright autumn sun.

Moments later, Honda driver Mavis Turner, her sister Jean Wachala and brother-in-law, who had been travelling home after attending a funeral, heard a "loud crash". Mrs Turner said she saw in her rear view mirror a black Isuzu pickup driven by Mr Windsor push the Citroen Picasso off the road and out of her sight.

Mrs Wachala told the inquest that she heard her sister say that a car had "flown in the air and gone into a ditch".

She said: "We decided not to go back because we knew they would have mobile phones on them. It was too dangerous for us to go back because of the sun.

"I was devastated to hear someone had lost their life. It really played on my mind. Easily our car could have been hit. It was too dangerous to turn around and I stress how scary it was to drive up the hill with no visibility."

Mrs Turner said: "I decided to keep driving but in hindsight I would have turned around had I known how serious it was.

"I was shocked and upset that this incident resulted in such sadness. I assumed the injuries were whiplash and I wouldn't be able to help."

Mr Windsor told the court that when the sunlight hit him, he "didn't have a chance to brake" adding that it was "that instantaneous" and had only realised there was a vehicle in front of him when the crash happened.

He confirmed that it was a "very deeply distressing" incident, and his thoughts were with Mrs Sampson's family who were in court.

Summing up his conclusions, coroner Heath Westerman said: "I am satisfied that it was a tragic road traffic collision that occurred due to the sun blinding Mr Windsor on the A488 Colstey Bank near Clun.


"He was travelling within the speed limit and had insufficient time to react or stop after he was suddenly blinded by the sun on that part of road and prior to it saw no vehicles.

"Mrs Turner stopped or was slowing down due to the sun and Mr Sampson was able to see that and acted accordingly despite the sun. Mr Windsor saw neither vehicle. PC Duffner and [road traffic collision report author] Mr Loat's opinion was that the collision was unavoidable. My conclusion is a road traffic collision.

"Jacqueline Sampson died as a result of unsurvivable spinal injury when the Citroen she was traveling in as a rear seat passenger was struck from behind by an Isuzu travelling in the same direction towards Clun."

Mr Westerman added: "I’m truly sorry for your loss and the trauma you have all been through. It won’t go away but I hope it lessens in time and I hope you remember your mother and wife for the lady that she was. I wish you all the very best."