Best friends were heading home from Cheshire Oaks shopping trip when a reckless 93mph driver caused utter devastation

Ellie Crossley and Rebecca Doughty were both killed in the horror crash as they drove home from a Christmas shopping trip
Ellie Crossley and Rebecca Doughty were both killed in the horror crash as they drove home from a Christmas shopping trip -Credit:Cheshire Constabulary

Two best friends were heading home from a Christmas shopping trip at Cheshire Oaks when a speeding driver killed them both in a devastating crash.

Ellie Crossley was driving along with her best friend Rebecca Doughty in the passenger seat when Benjamin Lewis ploughed his BMW into their car at high speed on November 25 2021.

Chester Crown Court heard how Lewis, 31, had hit speeds of 93mph in a 60mph zone in what were described as 'poor conditions', along the A5117 in Dunkirk.

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At around 9.30pm, he then 'lost control' of the BMW 420D, which crossed the double solid white lines and swerved into the opposite lane. His car collided with Ellie's Citroen DS3 which was travelling in the opposite direction.

Ellie and Rebecca, both from Wales, tragically died at the scene of the horror crash.

The families of Ellie and Rebecca released a joint statement paying tribute to the pair four days after the crash. They said: "The girls, both aged 20, were travelling home from a Christmas shopping trip when they were tragically involved in a fatal road traffic collision.

"Both families, and their friends, have been left truly devastated by this tragic event and will sadly miss them. Close friends for their short lives, they will be in our hearts forever."

Following the collision, an investigation was launched by the Serious and Complex Collision Investigation Unit at Cheshire Police. As part of their enquiries, a forensic collision investigator was enlisted to reconstruct the collision and the events leading up to it in order to establish the full circumstances.

Lewis was arrested and subsequently charged with two counts of death by dangerous driving. He had initially pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of death by careless driving, however the prosecution refused to accept his guilty plea and a trial was listed for September 2023. He later pleaded guilty to the more serious charge.

Lewis, of West Vale, Neston, appeared at Chester Crown Court on Wednesday (May 8), where he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was also banned from driving for four years after he is released from prison.

Following the sentencing Sergeant Andy Dennison, of the Cheshire police Serious and Complex Collision Investigation Unit, said: “Despite the poor weather conditions and low visibility, Lewis proceeded to speed in excess of 90mph with no regard to the danger he posed to other road users or himself.

"During the investigation, we utilised data collected by global satellites connected to electronic devices to show that Lewis had driven at high speed on several roads just before the collision. It was also shown that on entering the A5117, despite the terrible weather conditions, Lewis accelerated harshly up past 90 mph before losing control of his BMW on the wrong side of a double white line system.

“Tragically, as a result of his atrocious driving, Ellie and Rebecca paid the ultimate price, and I hope he takes this time behind bars to reflect on the decisions he made that night and the impact this has had on the families of the victims.

“I cannot begin to imagine the devastating loss that both Ellie and Rebecca’s families have had to endure throughout this long and painful process, and I sincerely hope today’s result will provide some closure.

“Lewis refused to acknowledge the severity of the charges but once he realised the mountain of evidence that was stacked against him, he admitted his dangerous driving had cost two young women their lives.

“This has been an extremely challenging and complex investigation, and I’d like to thank all of the dedicated officers involved in securing justice for Ellie and Rebecca. While this result will not bring back Ellie and Rebecca to their families, I hope this sends a message to others about the consequences of driving at high speed.”