A JUDGE partly blamed sat-nav for a road tragedy in which a father died after an impatient motorist blinded by spray and driving rain overtook a lorry in pitch darkness.
Judge Jonathan Rose said guilty driver Roland Kadas-Tar had placed far too much faith in the electronic map of the road ahead when embarking on a manoeuvre “fraught with danger”.
Jailing him for four and a half years yesterday, he told him: “You were reckless, foolish, and irresponsible and had no regard for other road users or yourself.”
The judge said by overtaking a waggon in the “atrocious” weather Kadas-Tar, a Hungarian working in Britain as a hospital porter, could have steered into the path of another lorry.
Instead, his Ford Mondeo ploughed into the front of a “vulnerable” motorcycle being driven by Stephen Summers, 59, who died in hospital four hours later.
Bradford Crown Court was told that Kadas-Tar had been driving home from seeing his girlfriend at 5am when Mr Summers, of Keighley, West Yorkshire, was on his way “to a day of hard work” at the Silentnight factory in Barnoldswick, Lancashire.
Mr Summers was on his correct side of the road and travelling at a safe speed when the crash happened near Broughton, North Yorkshire.
Tragedy struck when Kadas-Tar, 33, veered onto the wrong side of the road to pass a lorry which ironically belonged to Mr Summers’s own firm.
Mr Summers had died “an untimely and tragic death” while “still young in years and very much loved,” the judge said.
He told Kadas-Tar: “He was a hard-working man employed by the very company whose lorry you tried to overtake just prior to killing him.
“He has been described as someone who was a larger than life character whose constant smile could brighten any room unaffected by bad moods – a man who saw the good in everyone.
“When you take a life as you have done the effects ripple out to affect far more people and in far deeper ways than you could have thought.”
Mr Summers’s daughter Kendall, 14, “with the eloquence of youth” had posted on Facebook: “RIP Dad. I will miss you too much to say. I just never thought this day would come so early.”
The judge continued that Kadas-Tar had nothing to do later that day except pick up his daughter but was “impatient” to get home.
“You placed excessive reliance on your satellite navigation system and how that depicted the road ahead of you,” he added. “You paid insufficient attention to the reality of the road ahead of you. The road was curved, dim and the weather was appalling.
“You reliance on the satellite navigation system and its effect on your thinking was a contributing factor.”
Kadas-Tar – said to be haunted by nightmares of the crash – was also banned for five years and will have to retake his driving test.
The separated father of an eight-year-old girl from Peterson Road, Wakefield, had denied dangerous driving on the A59 near Skipton last November but was convicted at a previous trial.
Traffic Constable Steve Beckwith said: “He admitted in interview and in court that prior to the overtaking manoeuvre he had checked the sat-nav for bends in the road ahead when he could not see that himself.
He added: “This is the first case I have come across where the sat nav has been relied upon so heavily.” .
Mr Summers’s widow Sarah, 44, an area sales manager – commended for her dignity by the judge – said: “The sentence is just. It will not bring Stephen back.
“However, Kadas-Tar may now feel some of the pain me and Kendall are still feeling. We still put roses at the spot where he died every week.”