A grandfather who died in a head-on collision could have survived if a lorry-driver had reacted just 0.7 of a second quicker, a court heard.
Ken Milburn, 64, was on his way to work when a truck driven by Bulgarian-born Tihomir Todorov veered in front of him.
The 29 year-old failed to spot another car waiting to turn right ahead of him and swerved across the road into Mr. Milburn’s Ford Focus, killing him instantly.
Investigators calculated that if Todorov had reacted 15 metres – or 0.7 seconds sooner – he could have stopped in time.
His victim. a dad-of-two, was on his way to work at a local truck depot and was just months from retirement.
Todorov, who owned a ‘gold’ driver’s licence in Bulgaria, was jailed for six months after he admitted causing death by careless driving.
Judge Michael O’Sullivan told the East European: “You took the wrong option.
“I take the view that this was more than momentary inattention.
“The car turning right was in position to execute the turn with its indicators and brake lights on, but had to wait because of oncoming traffic.
“You should have seen the vehicle turning right much earlier – but for whatever reason your attention was elsewhere.
“When you did see that car, it was too late and you took the wrong option in driving into the oncoming lane. Your inattention was the sole cause of the death of Mr Milburn.”
He added: “Mr Milburn was about to retire to spend more time with his grandchildren and to enjoy the fruits of his life-long labours.
“This is tragedy upon tragedy and no sentence that this court can impose on you can take away the family’s pain and loss.”
Canterbury Crown Court heard how the accident happened just after 7am in November last year on the B2046 at Aylesham, Kent.
Todorov failed to see a Peugeot waiting to turn right 100 yards ahead until it was too late.
He faced the choice of smashing into the back of the Peugeot, swerving left and hitting the kerb or going into the path of oncoming traffic which he did.
After the case Mr. Milburn’s son Barry, 33, said: “The family has had a year of hell, but we are glad that he has been sent to prison and been banned from driving.
“If he had walked [free] today we would have been devastated. It would be like he had died for nothing.
“We are just pleased that my dad got justice. I will never forget the morning I found out, I was absolutely devastated.
“Three police officers knocked on my door to deliver the news. Life has never been the same since.”
The judge said he accepted there were no “aggravating circumstances” and that Todorov’s remorse was genuine.
In a letter handed to the judge Todorov wrote: “Dear family, I am so sorry for what happened.
“There is not a single day which goes by without me thinking about the accident.
“This has caused great mourning for me and my family as well. I cannot and I don’t think I will ever forgive myself for making that mistake that day.
“I deserve to be punished and I have taken full responsibility – I am not a bad person.”
Todorov, from Sittingbourne, Kent, was also banned from driving for three years.