A lorry driver has been jailed for four years after his vehicle collided with another HGV and killed the 72-year-old driver.
Investigators said the manner of Rhys Gardiner’s driving was consistent with him having fallen asleep just before the collision on the A66 in Cumbria in April 2018.
Following a trial at Carlisle Crown Court, Gardiner, 24, was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.
The court was shown dash cam footage from Gardiner’s HGV, which showed his vehicle being driven erratically, including being driven on the verge before veering back into the road and colliding with Timothy Harkness’s lorry at around 5.40am.
The court was also told of a text message Gardiner had sent in the early hours of that morning stating how tired he was.
In his police interview, Gardiner accepted that his driving had fallen below that expected of a competent driver, which had resulted in the death of Harkness.
However, he denied he had fallen asleep at the wheel before stating he could not remember if he was asleep.
Sergeant Callum Young of Cumbria constabulary’s mobile support group, said: “It is clear that tiredness has impeded the driving of Gardiner prior to this tragic collision.
“Being behind the wheel when you are unfit through tiredness can have as debilitating an effect on your ability to drive as being over the limit for alcohol or on drugs.
“In this instance, the result was made worse by the fact Gardiner was behind the wheel of a HGV, which meant Mr Harkness never stood a chance.”