The family of a trainee teacher who was murdered in front of her mother on her way to work has revealed her “desperate” grief.
Rhiannon Smith, of Landivu, Newport, was killed while driving to work on an A48 in 2017, with her mother Jill during a crash.
The 21-year-old’s family described the incident as “very sad” and did not want another family to go through what they did.
Her parents, Dr. Julian Smith and Jill Smith, now demand a lower speed limit on the road for safety.
Jill was driving with her sister when she saw her daughter’s silver Toyota Yaris pull out of an intersection and be hit by a Range Rover.
Rhiannon Smith, a 21-year-old teacher trainee from Llandevaud, died of her injuries from the A48 crash in 2017.
Now, there are renewed calls for lowering the speed limit on the road, backed by Rhiannon’s parents Dr. Julian Smith and Jill Smith.
Her dad told Julian, 61 Wales Online: “It was one morning when Rhiannon was driving. She was a student teacher, and she was driving in the morning.
“She was turning right from Llandevaud Lane to the A48, and as she was going off, there was a car parked there.
“The oncoming car couldn’t see Rhiannon. Unfortunately, the car was going 50mph, which is the current speed limit, but when two cars collide at that kind of speed, the consequences are generally disastrous.”
Beware of dangers
When investigating Rhiannon’s death, a statement from her mother said: “I drove a small distance to the Chepstow Road junction.
“We are all aware of the dangers of going off the main road. We have all had close calls with many pulling out of this lane.
I later stopped waiting for the bus. Sophie was looking at her mobile phone or a book, and after a while I saw Rhiannon’s car pull out from the intersection.
“There was a constant flow of traffic from Chepstow to Newport and the next thing I can remember is the accident. Rhiannon hit a Range Rover coming from the right behind me.
“I jumped out of the car and saw that she was injured, so I ran to Sophie and told her to call an ambulance.”
Police in the Rhiannon investigation admitted that the biggest factor in the collision was a car parked legally on the road that obstructed visibility between its car and the oncoming Range Rover.
The investigation heard that Rhiannon had suffered severe brain trauma and died on March 22.
You can’t bring back Rhiannon, but you like to believe that all we can do is to prevent it from happening again
Dr Smith added: “One aspect of the collision was that there was a parked car at the intersection and neither side was able to see the parked car.
“We wanted to improve safety at this particular intersection between Llandevaud and the A48.
“She was a likable person. Her character was appreciated by the children she was teaching. Her friends and family were clearly devastated by her loss.
“You can’t bring Rhiannon back, but you like to believe that everything we can do to prevent it from happening again.
“It’s interesting how these kinds of things change your attitude towards road safety, speed and road travel. It really affects the way you think about these things.
“And obviously we would be disappointed if we thought that could happen to anyone else, so all we can do to highlight these issues to other people is a small step in the right direction for us.”
After campaigns from the beds, all the double yellow stripes, pillars, and vehicle activation markings were carried out on the respective A48 extension.
But they still want to see more action taken, and ultimately believe lowering the speed limit is the only option.
Dr Smith added: “The final part of our campaign is that we believe the 50mph speed limit, certainly at this junction and perhaps at other intersections on the A48, is very high.
“Any reduction would be a step in the right direction. In my dreams, I’d like to reach 30, but I think a more realistic ambition might be 40.”
“The feedback I get from people is that they definitely feel that the junction is dangerous. Residents have reported many near misses at this junction.
“The dangers of the A48 junction in the village has been a constant point of discussion with the locals. In fact, one of the other residents, one of their children had an accident there and seriously injured his legs.”
As part of the Smith family’s efforts to lower the speed limit, they also received support from local politicians.
MS John Griffiths of Newport East supported the campaign, saying: “The speed of traffic on the A48 between Newport and Chepstow has always been a concern, particularly for residents living in villages and hamlets along this route.
“I know the city council has taken steps, including the recent installation of activated speed signs on the car.
“This is the will of Julian and other locals who have campaigned tirelessly on these issues.
“However, I think there is a strong reason to lower the speed limits on parts of the road that are currently 50 and 40 and make them 40 and 30 respectively.
“What happened to Rhiannon was very sad and we should never want to see that happen or another family has to go through it again.
“I have and will continue to raise issues with the Welsh Government and Newport City Council because it is in all of our interests to make our roads safer.”
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