A HGV driver who killed a devoted husband and wife from Northenden in a crash on the M56 near Lymm has been sentenced to five years in prison.
Angela Wong, aged 56, died on Thursday 19 September 2019 after the car she was driving, a grey Toyota Aventis, was hit from behind by a HGV and her husband, 62-year-old Richard Wong, who was a passenger in the vehicle, died three days later.
The driver, Steven Bennett, aged 29 from Barnsley, appeared at Chester Crown Court today and had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of death by dangerous driving.
He was also banned from driving for four years and ordered to undertake an extended retest.
On the day of the collision, Thursday 19 September 2019, Richard and Angela were returning from their caravan in Wales that they had just purchased. They had purchased this caravan to use in their retirement that had just begun.
As they approached junction 9 of the M56 eastbound at around 5.15pm, they joined the rear of a queue of stationary traffic in lane one 1 just prior to the exit for the M6
While the couple waited patiently, their car was hit from behind by a 10 tonne yellow DAF engineering truck, driven by Bennett, which was travelling at approximately 50 miles per hour.
The impact caused a seven vehicle pile-up and in addition to the Angela and Richard, four other people were also injured.
An investigation into the collision was launched by officers from Cheshire Police’s Serious and Complex Collision Investigation Unit.
During their enquiries officers collated witness statements CCTV and dashcam. The witness statements and the dashcam showed a devastating collision with huge kinetic force.
Downloads from Bennett’s phone also showed that he was using his phone on a regular basis while he drove from the Liverpool area to the collision scene.
At the point where the collision occurred there was obvious interaction by Bennett with his mobile phone.
Following the sentencing Police Sergeant Andrew Dennison, of Cheshire Police’s Serious and Complex Collision Investigation Unit said: “Richard and Angela were a devoted couple who had been married for over 37 years.
“They were loving parents and grandparents, and their deaths sent shockwaves throughout their local community. My thoughts are with their family and friends at this difficult time.
“While no sentence will ever bring Richard and Angela back, I hope that the conclusion of this case will provide them with some closure.”
“I also hope that this case will act as a warning to others. Driving is a complex task, drivers should always give full attention to what they are doing as situations can change rapidly.
“This collision could have been easily been avoided, Bennett had a clear view of the traffic ahead of him at least 20 seconds before he hit the stationary traffic. But sadly he was grossly inattentive on the approach to this clear hazard.
“Once he took his eyes off the road his vehicle became a lethal weapon, and by the time he realised what was happening it was too late. This need to use his phone whilst driving has cost Steven Bennett his liberty and Angela and Richard their life.”