'Lifelong friends' from North Wales killed in crash caused by 'atrocious' driver

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

Two "lifelong friends" from Flintshire were killed when an "atrocious" driver crashed into them. Ellie Crossley and Rebecca Doughty, both 20, had been to Cheshire Oaks and were travelling in the opposite direction to Benjamin Lewis when he lost control of his vehicle.

Lewis, 31, of West Vale, Neston, had been driving at speeds of up to 93mph in a 60mph zone during "terrible weather conditions" before losing control of his BMW 420D car. The vehicle collided with Ellie's Citroen DS3 travelling in the opposite direction on the A5117 in Dunkirk, Cheshire, at around 9.30pm on Thursday 25 November 2021.

Ellie, from Holywell, who was driving the vehicle, and Rebecca, from Connah's Quay, who was sat in the front passenger seat, both died at the scene of the crash. Lewis appeared at Chester Crown Court today after pleading guilty to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving at an earlier hearing.

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He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was also banned from driving for four years after he is released from prison. Cheshire Police investigations found the BMW had crossed the double solid white lines and entered into the opposite lane when it collided with the Citroen that was travelling toward it.

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.

Benjamin Lewis
Benjamin Lewis -Credit:Cheshire Constabulary

Following the sentencing hearing, 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 90mph 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.”

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