A TEENAGE motorist has been jailed following an investigation into a crash that killed an 18-year-old girl in November 2019.
Dylan Wyn Benjamin, aged 19, from the Bontnewydd area of Aberystwyth, was sentenced to five years in prison, reduced to three years and four months following his early guilty plea, for causing the death of Ellie Catherine Bryan by dangerous driving
He was also charged with causing serious injuries to both Kelsey Jarvis and Tee Jay Lewis by dangerous driving following an investigation by Dyfed-Powys Police.
Benjamin was the driver of a Vauxhall Astra in which Ellie, Kelsey and Tee Jay were passengers, when he lost control on the A487 between Aberystwyth and Commins Coch on Saturday, 16th November 2019.
The car collided with a tree before rebounding into the carriageway and hitting an oncoming vehicle.
Benjamin had previously pleaded guilty to all offences at a hearing on 6th November 2020.
His co-defendant Lena Faye Evans, driving a separate vehicle behind Benjamin at the time of the collision, was acquitted of all offences at her trial earlier this year.
HHJ Geraint Walters told Benjamin that a custodial sentence was inevitable and stated: “Cases such as this should remind us that roads such as this are not a playground, and at the top of Penglais Hill is exactly what it became for you.”
Giving him credit for his earlier guilty plea, HHJ Walters sentenced Benjamin to three years and four months in custody, with a driving disqualification of five years, including the requirement of sitting an extended test.
Officer in charge of the case PC Eleri Edwards read out a statement on behalf of Ellie’s family in which they said Ellie was a ‘remarkable person’, and that her death had left them in complete shock.
The family said they were relieved that the prosecution case was over and that they now wish to be left alone to come to terms with their loss.
PC Edwards added: “We hope the end of the police investigation and court proceedings brings some comfort to Ellie’s family, who have remained incredibly strong throughout.
“This incident was a tragedy that could have been avoided, leaving a family mourning the loss of a much loved young lady.
“We urge drivers to take care on the roads, which as the judge stated in court, are not a playground.”
Ceredigion AM Elin Jones had called at the time on the Welsh Government to take action.
The Welsh Government said the Trunk Road Agency had inspected the site.
The A487 is the main route for coastal traffic between north and south Wales.
Elin Jones told The Herald: “The amount of accidents on this stretch of road over recent years has been high, yet the improvements desperately needed have not taken place,” said Ms Jones, who is the presiding officer for the National Assembly for Wales.
“After every accident there are calls from myself, local councillors, MPs, local residents and families devastated by accidents here for the improvements that are desperately needed to be done.
“The Welsh Government cannot let another accident take place. We’ve had site meetings and reports, but the Government must take action and commit to improving safety on this stretch now.”
New Quay RNLI in top ten for fundraising in the UK & Ireland
Last week, as the RNLI’s Mayday Mile campaign came to an end, the New Quay RNLI team had earned the honour of being in the top ten for fundraising throughout the UK & Ireland. The team raised over £3,000 during the month of May, with local schools, individuals and the RNLI crew taking part.
Both Ysgol Ceinewydd and Ysgol T Llew Jones pupils took on the challenge, taking to the school field to complete their Mayday Mile and then learning about water safety back in the classroom.
Mr Lee Burrows, Deputy Headteacher of Ysgol T Llew Jones, said, “We wanted to take part in the RNLI Mayday Mile campaign as we wanted to raise awareness of the dangers in and around the water before the summer months. It’s really important for our pupils to remember water safety messages as we live by the sea.
“We were able to use the RNLI water safety resources which are online and the children had great fun making water safety posters.”
A local boy, Steffan Williams, aged 12, was another participant who raised over £2,200 by paddle boarding 10 miles in one day and is fourth on the individuals’ leaderboard for the whole of the UK and Ireland.
New Quay lifeboat crew also took part, with crew members running and walking across Traeth Gwyn in full RNLI kit. It was tough going but they covered a total of 20 miles. Crew member Peter Yates took the challenge one step further, walking a total of 68 miles during the month of May.
Pete said, “Having been on the crew for 14 years and having been taught so much and been given such great opportunities, I wanted to do my bit and give something back. I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me and the rest of the team.”
Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI Operations Manager added, “We would like to thank everyone for their kind donations and also those who have taken part in the fundraising activities. The Mayday Mile campaign has been a great success and it’s great to see the community pulling together to raise much needed funds for the RNLI. With more people expected to be holidaying close to home this year, the RNLI predicts a summer like no other.”
New Quay RNLI rescues three persons blown out to sea
ON THURSDAY afternoon (Jun 10) at 3pm New Quay RNLI’s inshore lifeboat launched on service to rescue three persons being blown out to sea on inflatable rings off Traeth Gwyn beach.
In a strong offshore wind, the crew at New Quay Lifeboat Station had spotted three persons on inflatable rings in difficulty.
Pete Yates, New Quay RNLI’s helm said, “We spotted the group about a quarter mile out from the beach so we observed them for a while. Initially they abandoned one of the rings and were making good speed back to the beach. All seemed okay, but then the group of three, each in a rubber ring started to slow, with one adult beginning to attempt a swim tow with the other two.
“At that point I could tell they were in real danger so I went to prepare the inshore lifeboat. Once kitted up we launched and quickly arrived on scene. One person had made it ashore but the adult was still towing a young person who was quite shivery and cold. We got them both aboard and took them back to the beach to their family. I’d say they were a little shaken up and it was a very good decision to observe them and then launch, so a good outcome!”
Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager added, “Many of the emergencies the RNLI responds to involve inflatables and that is a key reason why the RNLI strongly advises against taking them to the beach. Inflatables are not designed for open water and it takes very little breeze for them to be swept out to sea much quicker than you can swim or paddle back to the beach.
“Remember if you get into danger in the water, relax and float to give yourself time to recover before swimming to safety or calling for help. If you see someone else in danger, please call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”
Surprise interview with football superstar on Euros’ eve
ON Thursday morning 10 June, pupils from Ysgol Gynradd Penrhyn-coch and Ysgol Gyfun Penweddig received an unexpected Zoom call all the way from Baku, capital city of Azerbaijan. The call was made from Ben Davies, Welsh professional footballer, who is currently located at a camp with the rest of the Welsh national football team in Baku, ahead of their Euro 2020 opener game against Switzerland on Saturday.
After the initial shock of seeing the live image of Ben appear on the screen in front of them, Pupils from Year 3 to Year 6 of Ysgol Penrhyn-coch and Year 7 puplis of Ysgol Penweddig were given the opportunity to interview Ben. The interview, which was organised as part of the Ceredigion Welsh Language Charter, was conducted through the medium of Welsh.
It was clear from the big grins that all the pupils enjoyed this special experience considerably and one that will be well remembered. The passion from the children was an indicator of the strong support there is for Ben and the rest of the Welsh team in Ceredigion.
None of the pupils knew about the interview beforehand. The only clue given by the schools that something was happening was that pupils were all told to wear red to school on Thursday.
Liwsi Curley, a pupil of Ysgol Penrhyn-coch said: “I’m in shock to see one of my heroes live on zoom! It’s been a special experience and one of the happiest experiences of my life. Thank you very much Ben Davies. Go for it Wales!”
Ben answered many of the puplis questions. Twm Aron Williams and Caio Brychan, puplis of Ysgol Penrhyncoch, who are big fans of Ben were two of those lucky pupils. Caio asked Ben: “If you could choose a five-a-side football fantasy team who would be in it?” After answering, Ben asked the same question back to Caio, who answered immediately with: “You and then Bale, Ramsey, Moore and Henesey!”
Dr Rhodri Thomas, Headteacher of Ysgol Penweddig said: It was pleasing to see the response of year 7 pupils to the session with Ben Davies today. The pupils appreciated the opportunity to find out more about the experience of representing your country and the importance of practising, hard work and following advice from others in order to succeed. Year 7 pupils are excited now and look forward to supporting Wales in the competition over the next few weeks. Good luck to the team in Rome and Baku!”
Finley Saycell, a Year 7 pupil of Ysgol Penweddig said: “Today’s experience was a special one. I thank everyone who had given us the opportunity. It was excellent. I spoke to Ben Davies – one of Wales’s best players!”
Ben Davies has won over 50 caps for Wales and previously played in the Euros in 2016. Welsh-born Ben attended Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera, Neath Port Talbot.
Following the interview, Ben Davies said: “It was lovely to speak to the children and see the support that there is for us – WOW!”
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