The accident happened on a straight stretch of road as 33-year-old Susan Prosser drove her eight-year-old daughter Laura Medcroft and two schoolfriends to school at Cadmore End, Buckinghamshire.
Divisional fire officer Ron Adams said: "It would appear that they collided head on and the lorry took the vehicle backwards down an embankment and into a tree. The car was crushed beneath the lorry."
Mrs Proffer died at the scene of the crash in her home village of Stokenchurch, along with daughter Laura and Nikita Somes, seven, of Chinnor, Oxfordshire. Fire officers using heavy lifting gear and cutting equipment freed her other 18-month-old daughter, Rachael,and Nicholas Butler, eight, of High Wycombe, from the wreck of the Fiat Uno. Both were taken to Wycombe General hospital with multiple injuries.
Rachael was last night being examined at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford by specialist neurosurgeons at the paediatric intensive care unit. She was said to have severe head, chest and limb injuries.
Nicholas, who suffered head injuries and broken limbs, underwent surgery at Wycombe.
Parents in the tiny villages around High Wycombe, who send their children to the 85-pupil Cadmore End Church of England primary school, were last night dealing with the shock of the accident. Several children and their parents were crying as they left the school in pouring rain yesterday afternoon.
Headteacher Sarah Hargreave said: "Everyone at the school is deeply shocked by this terrible tragedy. Staff have been telling children something about what happened and a specialist in emotional trauma is standing by to help them cope."
Neighbours and friends described Mrs Prosser, who was separated from her husband, as a "wonderful mum". One friend, who refused to be named, wept as she said: "She had a really big heart. She was always doing things for others. That's why she was taking the others to school like that."
The driver of the skip lorry, Keith Hunt, also of Stokenchurch, was treated in hospital for shock but released.Reuse content