A “lovely” mum-of-two was killed after a delivery driver fell asleep at the wheel of his van despite drinking a coffee with “14 sugars”.
Piotr Bebacz, 38, was on the last delivery of his shift when he drifted his van onto the wrong side of A120 near Harwich, Essex. A court heard Bebacz’s Mercedes Sprinter collided with the driver side of a HGV, the van then rebounded off the lorry’s body and smashed into Nicola Frost’s Suzuki, which was being driven behind the HGV.
Chelmsford Crown Court was told Ms Frost, 40, was killed instantly in the horror smash.
Bebacz had five or six coffees, including one with “14 sugars”, prior to travelling but this had “no effect whatsoever”.
He admitted causing death by dangerous driving and was jailed for 40 months on Tuesday.
Sentencing the driver, Judge Christopher Morgan said: “The defendant, on occasions, was straddling the central white lines, both broken and solid, but returning to the correct carriageway on the approach of oncoming traffic.
“As he was to say to the police officers in interview, he had stopped in order to take coffee.
“He thought that he would be able to continue driving if he added to that coffee copious amounts of sugar.
“But it is quite plain that that had no effect whatsoever.
“The defendant himself realised that the point had come when he should stop his vehicle and rest, and that is evidenced by him pulling into the area of the BP service station.
“On two occasions the defendant chose to ignore the parking spaces that were available either outside the BP garage or on the forecourt to continue his journey and the last delivery.”
Ms Frost, a care worker, had been on her way to an overtime shift to “earn some more pennies” before the holidays, her grieving husband Michael told the court in a statement.
An ambulance passing by stopped to help but Mrs Frost’s injuries were too serious and she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Mr Frost said: “My soulmate, our family’s rock, was killed on her way to work – a mere 600 to 700 yards from our house. It shocked me to the core.
“I did not want to believe what I was told – my lovely wife was taken from us due to the recklessness of a so-called professional driver.”
Judge Christopher Morgan heard other moving tributes from friends and family and listened as Nicola’s son Richard gave evidence to the court that he “despised” his mother’s killer and could not forgive him.
A statement from Nicola’s family previously said: “She was a devoted wife to Michael, and a loving, adoring mum to her beloved Richard and Rhianna. Nicola was always there whenever anyone needed her and was a loyal and supportive friend to many.”
Before he was taken to the cells, Bebacz apologised to Mrs Frost’s family, some of whom were in court.
He said: “Wholeheartedly I believe Ms Frost was a great, loving mother and wife and it was unjust that it was God that took the decision to take her from the world, and I’m sorry.”
The judge told the court the sentence could not “repair the broken hearts” of those who had given victim statements.
He added: “She was the rock of her family, she was well respected by friends and family and her work colleagues and in the circumstances that persisted in 2021, certainly in the care sector, she was a valuable addition to the community in which she served as a carer.”
Bebacz, of Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, will also be disqualified from driving for three years upon his release from prison.