Face of 'atrocious' 93mph driver who caused head-on smash that killed 'lifelong friends'

Benjamin Lewis , 31 -Credit:Cheshire Police
Benjamin Lewis , 31 -Credit:Cheshire Police

A man has been jailed for ten years after his "atrocious driving" caused the deaths of two young women. Benjamin Lewis was sentenced at Chester Crown Court today (May 8), where he was also banned from driving for four years upon his release from prison.

The 31-year-old, of West Vale, Neston, had pleaded guilty to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving at an earlier hearing following a crash on the A5117 near Chester. The court heard how at around 9.30pm on November 25, 2021, Lewis had been driving at speeds of up to 93mph in a 60mph zone when he lost control of his BMW 420D in the Dunkirk area.

As a result he collided head on with a Citroen DS3 travelling in the opposite direction. The driver, Ellie Crossley, was travelling from Cheshire Oaks with her friend, Rebecca Doughty, who was sat in the front passenger seat, following a Christmas shopping trip.

READ: Families pay tribute to 'lifelong friends' who died in crash near Chester Ellie Crossley and Rebecca Doughty were killed in the collision while they were travelling home from a Christmas shopping trip

READ: Man charged over A5117 crash near Chester that killed 'lifelong friends' Benjamin Lewis set to appear in court charged with two counts of causing death by dangerous driving

Sadly, "lifelong friends" Ellie and Rebecca, both aged 20 and from Flintshire, died at the scene as a result of their injuries sustained during the collision. Subsequently, 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 circumstances. This identified that the BMW had crossed the double solid white lines and entered into the opposite lane when it collided with the Citroen that was travelling towards it.

Ellie Crossley and Rebecca Doughty, both 20, were killed in a crash on the A5117 near Chester
Ellie Crossley and Rebecca Doughty, both 20, were killed in a crash on the A5117 near Chester -Credit:Cheshire Constabulary

Lewis was arrested and 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 changed his guilty pleas to the more serious charge.

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."

NEWSLETTER: Sign up for CheshireLive email direct to your inbox here