John Yates jailed for the M6 Thelwall Viaduct crash !
Full details about John Yates jailed for the M6 Thelwall Viaduct crash
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A drug driver has been jailed after killing a St Helens father in a horrific crash in Warrington.
Chris Smith, 41, was tragically killed on the M6 Thelwall Viaduct after John Yates collided with him while slamming at speeds of around 128mph.
Mr. Smith, who had dreamed of having his own family since the age of 17, had been commuting home from work to “cuddle and cuddle up to his pregnant wife.”
Yates, who was under the influence of drugs, fled the scene by jumping over a barrier immediately after the accident.
The 28-year-old appeared at Chester Crown Court today,riday, after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and failing to provide a sample for analysis.
The horrific accident took place on the M6 motorway between Junction 20, Lymm, and Junction 21, Woolston, on 15 November last year at approximately 12.30am.
This section of the highway has been reduced from four lanes to just one lane due to roadworks, and as a result a speed limit of 50 mph was imposed.
Prosecutor Jane Morris said Mr Smith was on his way home from work at the time and finished his night shift early so he could spend the next few days decorating his child’s nursery and going shopping with his partner.
Ms Yates, from the NFA but previously in North Wales, said she approached the roadworks at such a speed that it was not possible to stop according to some witnesses.
When the lanes were reduced to a single lane, Yates attempted to fit a gap between Mr. Smith’s car and that of another driver by “pushing through cones”.
But due to traveling at over 100 mph and “leaving it too late”, he is unable to do so and clips one of the cars before crashing into the back of Mr. Smith’s Peugeot.
This causes both his and Mr. Smith’s cars to spin “several times” and end up on the hard shoulder.
It was here, Mrs. Morris explained, that Yates fled the scene, leaving his boots behind, while witnesses and those driving tried to help Mr. Smith, who was seriously injured, out of his car. But the doors will not open.
The emergency services were then called and Mr Smith was taken to Salford Royal Infirmary. Meanwhile, the officers were supported by a police helicopter to attempt to locate Yates.
He was found later that morning near the scene of the accident, barefoot. The court heard his refusal to give a breath or a blood sample to the officers.
Mr. Smith died on November 16 due to head and chest injuries resulting from the accident.
Ms. Morris read a victim impact statement from Mr. Smith’s partner to the court.
Three months ago, my life was as close to perfect as it can get.
“It was the happiest thing I’ve ever been in my life.
“There are no words that can truly describe the heartbreak when the doctors told me that Chris was brain dead.
“It was stolen from my companion, whom I was to marry.
My son was taken away from his father.
“John Yeats will never be forgiven for what he did.”
Yates has a previous conviction from 2018 for a drug-related driving offense.
In her defense, Sarah Badrawi said her client, who works in the care profession, “deeply regrets”.
Mrs. Badrawi said that her client used drugs, namely hashish and cocaine, since a difficult period in his life several years ago.
She said his explanation for leaving was that he was “overwhelmed” by the consequences of his actions.
In closing, Justice Simon Berkson said: “The circumstances of this case are truly tragic and Chris Smith needlessly lost his life, solely because of your dangerous driving fueled by your illegal drug use.”
“The evidence in this case is that you were driving a Volkswagen Sirocco, which is a powerful car, at a very high speed.
“CCTV was turned on for those in court and it’s a really scary picture of what happened.
“It’s shocking to see how quickly the whole incident happened.
“Then I got out of the car and ran – that was where you left your horrible crime scene.”
Speaking of the impact on Mr Smith’s partner and child which he said was “stolen” from the soul mate and father, Mr Berkson added: “There is no penalty this court can pass that can in any way represent that loss.”
Yates was sentenced to eight years and three months in prison, two-thirds of which he must serve.
He is also ineligible to drive for a period of seven years starting from the date of his release.