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Man jailed for five years for killing a couple after driving into a queue of traffic

|News, Driving offences

A truck driver who drove into a queue of traffic on the M56 motorway in Cheshire and killed two people in the car in front has been jailed for five years.

Richard and Angela Wong
Richard and Angela Wong

The CPS said that Steven Bennett, 30, from Manor Crescent in Grimsby, drove into the back of the Toyota car being driven by Angela Wong at 5.16pm on 19 September 2020.

Mrs Wong, 56, died at the scene from her injuries and her husband Richard Wong, 62, who was a passenger in the car, died three days later. They were described by family and friends as a devoted couple. They had two children and two grandchildren and had been married for 37 years.

The DAF truck being driven by Bennett, collided with a stationary queue of eight vehicles at Junction 9 of the M56 where it joins the M6, near Stretton. He had failed to react in time to the fact that the vehicles were stationary. He had been driving at a speed of around 54 mph. The weather was sunny and driving conditions were good.

The car being driven by Mrs Wong then shunted into the other vehicles in the queue. Five people in the other vehicles suffered slight injuries. 

Bennett initially told police that he had been distracted by a bird flying past the screen of the truck. But examination of his phone showed that in the moments leading up to the collision he had been handling it and had plugged and unplugged the charger twice.

He initially denied causing death by dangerous driving but pleaded guilty just before the start of his trial at Chester Crown Court on 9 August 2021. On Thursday 16 September 2021 at Chester Crown Court he was jailed for five years, disqualified from driving for four years and must do an extended retest before he can drive again.

In a Victim Personal Statement that she read to the court, Charlotte Wong, Mr and Mrs Wong’s daughter, said: “I am a different person to the one I was before 19th September 2019, the day my parents were ripped from my life, my heart and my future. To quantify their loss is like trying to quantify the size of the black hole, it is endless and bleak. The pain I feel every day is like carrying a weight that never eases.”

District Crown Prosecutor Victoria Colvin, of CPS Mersey Cheshire said: “The events of that day were really tragic. Mr and Mrs Wong were a devoted couple with lots of family and friends and had so much to live for. Their lives were cut short by the actions of Steven Bennett.

“He denied his wrongdoing for some time but eventually admitted what he had done, thankfully bringing this case to a relatively swift conclusion. When we are behind the wheel of a vehicle, we carry a big responsibility and our actions can cause dreadful consequences, as we have seen in this case.

“Steven Bennett would no doubt like to turn back time but he can’t. He must face the consequences of what he did. The Crown Prosecution Service would like to thank all of the witnesses for their help in bringing this prosecution and the family of Mr and Mrs Wong for their dignity and composure in the face of overwhelming grief. Our thoughts are with them at this time.”

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