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Pontiac man sentenced in deadly Waterford pedestrian crash

Joseph Bates charged in connection with John Henke's death

WATERFORD, Mich. – A 36-year-old Pontiac man was sentenced Tuesday in connection with the death of a 65-year-old pedestrian who was crossing the road.

Joseph Bates is charged with fourth-degree arson and failure to stop at the scene of an accident causing death.

Last October, John Henke, 65, was killed while crossing Elizabeth Lake Road near Preston Avenue in Waterford. Police found Henke lying dead in the road around 8:30 p.m. Oct. 26.

The driver who hit Henke had left the scene.

A short time later, police found the red minivan involved in the incident about a mile away, engulfed in flames. It was left behind a Sam's Club on Summit Drive.

Investigators later traced the minivan back to Bates' girlfriend.

Prosecutors said Bates hit Henke and kept driving. They said he tried buring the minivan to cover his tracks.

Henke's family declined to speak Tuesday, but Bates addressed them directly.

"I'm sorry," he told them in court.

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