Truck driver who killed 'devoted couple' after driving into queue of traffic on M56 jailed

A truck driver who killed two people after driving into a queue of traffic on the M56 motorway has been jailed.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 1:58 pm

Angela Wong, 56, died after the car she was driving, a grey Toyota Avensis, was hit from behind by a HGV on September 19, 2019

Her husband, 62-year-old Richard Wong, who was a passenger in the vehicle, died three days later on September 22 at the Walton Centre in Liverpool.

Five others suffered minor injuries in the crash.

The driver of the HGV, Steven Bennett, appeared at Chester Crown Court today (September 16) where he was sentenced to five years in prison.

The 30-year-old, of Manor Crescent, Grimsby, 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.

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 September 19, 2019, the day my parents were ripped from my life, my heart and my future.

Richard Wong (pictured left) with his wife Angela Wong (pictured right).

"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."

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As the couple approached junction 9 of the M56 eastbound at around 5.15pm, they joined a queue of stationary traffic prior to the exit for the M6.

While the couple waited, their car was hit from behind by a DAF engineering truck, driven by Bennett, which was travelling at approximately 54 miles per hour.

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 August 9, 2021.

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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