A motorist whose 'devastating' lack of concentration caused a collision on the M6 which claimed the life of his close friend has been handed a 12-month community supervision order.
Fifty-nine-year-old Gareth Morris, of Castleton in Rochdale, was sentenced for causing the death of Clark Greenwood by careless driving at Chester Crown Court on Monday (August 1), after earlier being found guilty.
Mr Greenwood died following a two-vehicle collision on the northbound carriageway of the M6 near Sandbach in June 2014.
He had been travelling as a front seat passenger in a silver Ford Focus being driven by Morris, with Mr Greenwood's son and another friend sat in the back.
The group were returning from a day out at the British Stock Car Championship in Birmingham.
But their car collided with a stationary Mercedes Benz which had broken down in the middle lane.
Mr Greenwood was taken to the North Staffordshire University Hospital but tragically passed away the following day.
Police estimate Morris was travelling at between 57mph and 63mph at the point of impact, despite warning lights advising drivers to travel at a maximum speed of 50mph due to the broken down vehicle.
Roads policing officer Geraint Williams, from the Cheshire Roads Policing Team, said: “I hope that other drivers see this incident as a warning that the advisory speeds limits that are used on out motorway network on a daily basis are there for a reason, and should not simply be ignored.”
In addition to the supervision order, Morris was ordered to complete 250 hours of unpaid work in the community and banned from driving for two years.
Sentencing Morris, Judge Roger Dutton said: "You were convicted on plain evidence of causing the death of a close friend, Clark Greenwood, by careless driving.
“Responsibility does largely lie on your shoulders whether you accept it or not.
"You were travelling in excess of the 50mph advisory speed limit set by more than one matrix sign.
“There was a clear lack of attention displayed by you at the critical moment of this incident.
"The consequences of that lack of concentration were devastating."
Mr Greenwood's family released a statement following Morris' sentencing, in which they told of how they 'thought the world' of their loved one but highlighted the importance of moving on.
“After so much time has passed we don’t have any bad feelings towards Gareth Morris, he was dad’s friend and someone that dad enjoyed spending his time with," they said.
'Everyone is a loser'
“We understand that Gareth must receive a sentence for the errors he made while driving on the M6 motorway that night in June 2014.
"Nobody wins in a case such as this, everyone is a loser, we’ve lost a fabulous father, grandfather, brother and uncle and of course Gareth and many other people have lost a loyal and dependable friend and colleague.
"It’s now important that we move forward from this dreadful accident that has changed so many lives forever."