Dangerous driver jailed after killing father-to-be in 128mph crash on the M6

A dangerous driver who killed an expectant father by smashing into the back of his car at 128mph before fleeing the scene has been jailed.

John Yates, 28, was attempting to skip traffic merging for roadworks on the M6 in Cheshire when he smashed into the back of Christopher Smith's Peugeot 107.

Smith had slowed down to meet the temporary 50mph speed limit, while Yates' white Volkswagen Scirocco was travelling at 128mph at the time of the crash.

Yates fled the scene, while Mr Smith, a 41-year-old, from St Helens, sustained life-threatening injuries and was taken to the Salford Royal hospital.

Mr Smith died in hospital the following day. His wife was heavily pregnant at the time of his death.

A 28-year-old woman from Preston and a 25-year-old passenger, who were in another car that was also struck in the crash, both escaped with minor injuries.

On Friday, Yates, of no fixed abode but from North Wales, appeared at Chester Crown Court where he was sentenced to 11 years in prison - reduced to eight years and three months for an early guilty plea - after admitting to causing death by dangerous driving and failing to provide a specimen.

The court heard how the collision took place around 12.30am on Tuesday 15 November last year, on the M6 northbound between junctions 20, Lymm, and 21, Thelwall.

Temporary roadworks and a 50mph speed limit were in place at the time, with all vehicles required to merge into the fast lane.

Despite multiple signs warning of the roadworks ahead, Yates continued to travel at high speed and undertook a number of vehicles to skip the traffic.

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As he approached the area where the traffic was merging, Yates' white Volkswagen Scirocco collided with the side of a Peugeot 307 before hitting Mr Smith's Peugeot 107 at high speed.

After the crash, Yates left his car and ran off.

Yates returned to the motorway five hours later and was arrested at the scene.

After the sentencing, Sergeant Simon Degg, of the Serious and Complex Collision Investigation Unit, described Yates' actions as "cowardly".

"Rather than staying to try to help Christopher and face the consequences of his actions, he ran off and left him to die," he said.

"Even after he was located, he denied any involvement in the collision, and throughout questioning he declined to answer any questions and refused to provide samples of breath or blood.

"His parting comments to investigators was that he puts all of his trust in those investigating the collision."

Paying tribute to Mr Smith, Sergeant Degg said: "Christopher was a true gentleman, he had left work early that day so that he could spend time with his heavily pregnant wife.

"He was excited at the prospect of becoming a dad and a gentleman who was doing nothing wrong whatsoever.

"Because of the actions taken by Yates that day, Christopher will never get to meet his child and be the loving father that he would have been."

In addition to his prison sentence, Yates was banned from driving for seven years, to commence once released from prison.