Reckless driver who killed three teen pals in when he lost control at 75mph and smashed into tree is jailed for 9 years


A RECKLESS driver who killed three teen pals in a horror crash when he lost control and smashed into a tree has been jailed for nine years.

Joshua Chapman, 20, was driving Aaron Bell, 18, Louis Banks, 17, and Thomas Shevels, 18, back from McDonald’s when the tragedy unfolded.

Tommy Shevels was killed in the crash along with two palsNNP

The driver had sped through a red light and hit 75mph on a dark country lane before he left the road on a bend and struck the tree.

All three teens were declared dead at the scene in Masham, Yorkshire, while Chapman suffered a serious brain injury.

He was today jailed for nine years after he admitted three charges of causing death by dangerous driving.

In harrowing victim impact statements, the families of Aaron, Louis and Thomas spoke of their devastation.

Louis’ loved ones said: “Losing Louis has changed our lives forever.

“We miss the joy, the noise, the laughter that Louis brought to our lives, the silence now is deafening. Nothing I write can do my boy justice. Louis should still be here but he’s not.”

Aaron’s family paid tribute to the “talented sportsman” who had the “world at his feet”.

They added: “A life so full of promise cut short, cruelly taken from us all.  Our world has fallen apart and our lives forever changed.  Our hearts are broken and the unimaginable pain from losing a child will stay with us for ever.

“A huge hole has been left that can never be filled.  No sentence today will justify the loss of Aaron, his life needlessly taken. 

“We have to live with the consequences of the driver’s actions for the rest of our lives, we are as a family living a life sentence for something that should never have happened. 

“Grief is a lonely road to walk.  Grief is just love that has no place to go, Grief is the price we are now paying for loving Aaron, and we loved him more than words can describe.”

While Tommy’s family said: “Losing our eldest son Tommy has devastated our family’s lives and the heartbreak has left huge holes in our hearts.

“Our biggest regret is that we weren’t there to stop Tommy, Louis and Aaron getting in Joshua Chapman’s car on the night of the 29 of July 2022.

“His reckless behaviour devastated the lives of three families that night.”

OMG, please save me.

Louis’ tragic message to pal

Teesside Crown Court heard Chapman had picked up the three friends in his Alfa Romeo 147 on July 29, 2022, after a night out.

He was seen driving recklessly in the McDonald’s car park before speeding away towards Masham.

A haunting Snapchat video Louis sent showed him being thrown around the car as Chapman raced through the town.

He then sent a message to his friend saying: “OMG, please save me.”

One motorist told how he was driving on the B6268 when he noticed a vehicle tailgating them and “beeping his horn continuously”.

Both cars eventually came to stop at temporary traffic lights but Chapman revved his car and sped off down a dark country lane.

The other driver said as he went on the green light, he noticed the Alfa Romeo had come off the road and hit a tree.

He had ignored signs warning of a right-hand bend and tried to take it at 75mph – causing him to lose control.

This was an absolute tragic and completely avoidable loss of three young lives.

Sergeant Ed Drake

Tragically, the three teens’ pals were waiting for them to return with the food unaware they had all been killed.

The court heard how Chapman, who had passed his test 10 months earlier, was described by pals as a reckless driver.

Just weeks before the crash, he boasted of reaching 120mph while driving two female friends, who later vowed never to get in his car again.

As well as a jail sentence, Chapman was also banned from driving for 10 years and must take an extended test to regain his licence.

Sergeant Ed Drake, of North Yorkshire Police’s Major Collision Investigation Team, said: “This was an absolute tragic and completely avoidable loss of three young lives.

“Joshua Chapman is now facing the consequences of his dangerous driving, but no sentence can ever compensate for the loss of Louis, Aaron and Tommy, the lives they would have lived and the pain their grieving families are going through.

“This catastrophic collision must serve as a lesson to everyone, particular young drivers, of the importance of being in control of your vehicle at all times.

“Driving within in the law, within your own capabilities and according to the road conditions is paramount in keeping you, your passengers and other road users safe.

“Our thoughts remain with the families and loved ones of Louis, Aaron and Tommy. I would also like to acknowledge and thank them for their immense patience and understanding during what has been a lengthy and traumatic investigation.”

Louis had sent his friend a final haunting messageNNP

Keen sportsman Aaron’s family paid tributeNNP