Man jailed for killing best friend in M6 crash

M6 crash scene
Image caption Victim Haroon Raja's family pleaded with the court for leniency for the driver

A man has been jailed for three years for killing his best friend when their car collided with a lorry on the M6.

James Barrett was driving at "excessive speed" near Coleshill in Warwickshire last July when his car collided with the goods vehicle.

Haroon Raja, 33, from Yardley, was killed and the lorry driver suffered serious injuries, police said.

Barrett had already admitted two charges of causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving.

He was jailed for three years and four months at Birmingham Crown Court for causing death by dangerous driving and three years to run concurrently for the second charge.

But Mr Raja's family pleaded with the court for leniency despite their devastation at what had happened, police said.

Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption James Barrett pleading guilty at an earlier hearing

In a statement read to the court, Mr Raja's brother said: "My family and I understand that James was driving the car at the time of the accident, and that he lost control of the vehicle causing the accident, and so must bear responsibility for the death of my brother, and the injuries to the truck driver.

"However, we feel that this is something that James will have to live with for the rest of his life, and can only imagine how hard this must be for him."

He said the family "have nothing but love and sympathy" for 34-year-old Barrett, of Triumph Walk, Castle Bromwich, who was driving an Audi Q7 at the time.

The collision, between junctions 4 and 4a, shut the motorway for nine hours.

Acting Sgt Adam Green said: "Both men had promising careers ahead of them and both families have been left devastated.

"I cannot express deeply enough how important it is to follow the speed limits set on our highways, they are there for a reason."

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