Van driver jailed after killing 23-year-old at pedestrian crossing and driving off

A van driver has been jailed for seven years after killing a 23-year-old by running a red light on a pedestrian crossing.

William Bratton
William Bratton

William Bratton, 30, from Market Drayton, was driving on Macon Way in Crewe at around 5.30pm on Friday, November 5, last year when he hit Joshua Spender as he tried to cross the road.

Bratton then fled the scene, leaving Joshua injured in the road. The 23-year-old, from Crewe, was taken to hospital and died a short time later.

Chester Crown Court, where Bratton was sentenced on Friday, had heard that the traffic lights had changed to red as Bratton approached the crossing.

He had driven through the red light five seconds after they had changed.

People in a van travelling in the other direction said they believed he was speeding up, rather than slowing down, as Joshua had stepped off the pavement.

The impact led Joshua to land on the footpath and several members of the public and paramedics came to his aid while Bratton drove off.

Officers began an investigation to identify the driver by viewing CCTV footage and speaking to witnesses.

Bratton was arrested at an address in Market Drayton shortly after 9pm on Sunday, November 7, and was taken into custody and subsequently charged.

He pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to causing death by dangerous driving. He was jailed for seven years and will be banned from driving for ten years when he is released from prison.

Joshua Spender

Following the sentencing Joshua’s family issued a statement saying his death has left a "huge void" in their lives.

They said: “On November 5, 2021 our lives were changed forever, we have all been left broken, utterly devastated by the sudden and avoidable loss of our wonderful son, grandson, brother and friend to many.

“We have all been left with such an overwhelming sadness and such helplessness. Six months since our world was ripped apart and we have no idea how we are going to cope with the huge void that Josh's death has left within our lives.

“We have all changed as a family, our lives have been a blur since that fateful day and we are not the same people, we just exist and cannot believe we will never see or hear him again.

“No sentence given by the judge today will ever be enough and it will never bring back our beloved Josh who was so cruelly taken away far too soon and in such devastating circumstances.

“As a united family we would like to thank our family, friends, work colleagues, Leighton Hospital, County Insurance, the CPS and the amazing efforts of the police for securing this conviction today.”

Sergeant Simon Degg, of Cheshire Constabulary’s serious and complex collision investigation unit, said: “This was an incredibly tragic collision that led to a young man losing his life.

“Bratton made no attempt to slow down, or stop, both before, during or after the collision but the fact he should never have been driving in the first place makes this even more heart breaking. His actions led to him killing Joshua and that’s something he must live with every day.

“Our thoughts continue to be with Joshua’s family and friends who have been left devastated by what happened that day.”

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