Minibus driver sentenced to six years and ten months for hen party crash


James Johnson, a minibus driver who pleaded guilty to causing the death of a teenager in a crash on the M62 in West Yorkshire in April 2013 has been sentenced today at Leeds Crown Court to six years and ten months, and disqualified from driving for ten years, with a requirement to take an extended re-test.

Johnson was driving a group of 20 women to Liverpool for a hen party. Trainee nurse Bethany Jones, 18, died and 11 other women, including the bride-to-be, were seriously injured in the crash near Pontefract.

Samantha Davidson, Senior Crown Prosecutor, CPS Yorkshire and Humberside, said: "This was an appalling tragedy and my thoughts remain with Bethany's family and with all those who were injured in this incident.

"Johnson's passengers alerted him to a burning smell in the vehicle, which he briefly investigated, but he then chose to continue his journey along the motorway. Expert evidence establishes that the vehicle was travelling at no more than 5.5mph at the time of impact. 

"In the face of overwhelming evidence, James Johnson pleaded guilty on 29 September to causing death by dangerous driving.
I hope the sentence handed down today will bring some comfort to Bethany's family and friends, and to all those who were injured in this tragic incident."

The driver of the lorry which crashed into the back of the minibus was found not guilty of causing death by dangerous driving at Leeds Crown Court on 24 October.