Royal Mail driver who nodded off at wheel and killed grandfather, 64, after watching videos instead of sleeping on nightshift breaks is jailed for four years

  • Post category:news
  • Reading time:5 min(s) read

  •  Stefan-Alexandru Bloj crashed into David Sullivan on his first ever night shift
  •  Mr Sullivan’s widow Wendy described her husband as ‘my love and life’

A Royal Mail lorry driver was today jailed for four years after he wasted his sleep breaks on a nightshift to watch videos then nodded off at the wheel and killed a grandfather.

Stefan-Alexandru Bloj was on his first ever night shift for the postal service and had only three hours sleep in the 24 hours before he dropped off for five seconds on a motorway.

The 34-year-old’s 44-tonne Mercedes lorry ploughed into the back of David Sullivan’s Citroen, causing the 64 year old – affectionately nicknamed ‘Grandad Gorgeous’ – to suffer horrific fatal injuries.

Today, Romanian driver Bloj was jailed as Mr Sullivan’s devastated widow Wendy tearfully told a court she constantly asks herself ‘Did he see the lorry coming? Did he know he was going to die?’

Mrs Sullivan, 68, who ran an award-winning bakery with her husband, also told of her grief at losing her partner of almost 50 years.

Stefan-Alexandru Bloj has been jailed for four years after he crashed into grandfather David Sullivan during his first night shift for Royal Mail

Stefan-Alexandru Bloj has been jailed for four years after he crashed into grandfather David Sullivan during his first night shift for Royal Mail

David Sullivan, 64, ran an award winning bakery with his wife and was affectionately named 'Grandad Gorgeous'

David Sullivan, 64, ran an award winning bakery with his wife and was affectionately named ‘Grandad Gorgeous’

Bloj crashed into Mr Sullivan's Citroen on the M271 in Southampton after having had just three hours sleep

Bloj crashed into Mr Sullivan’s Citroen on the M271 in Southampton after having had just three hours sleep 

Bloj had denied causing death by dangerous driving following the 8.30am crash on the M271 in Southampton, Hants, on November 17, 2020.

Witnesses who saw the horror smash compared it to an ‘explosion’ that resulted in Mr Sullivan’s Citroen Relay flying into the air.

Mr Sullivan’s vehicle was hit at around 40mph as he waited to join a roundabout.

Agency driver Bloj had only started working for the Royal Mail a week before and was on his first ever night shift

The HGV driver was meant to have taken rest breaks but instead watched videos on his phone and texted his partner meaning in the 24 hours leading up to the crash he had a total of just three hours sleep.

He claimed he suffered from an undiagnosed sleep condition but he was convicted by jurors following a trial at Southampton Crown Court.

Today, at Southampton Crown Court, Bloj was jailed for four years.

Wendy Sullivan, who ran Ruby’s Bakery with her husband in Burgess Hill, West Sussex, is now taking anti-depressants.

In a victim impact statement she said: ‘November 17 was the day I lost my love and life.

‘November 17 was the day after 64 years in life, he took his last breath and slipped away from me.

‘November 15 was the last day I was happy.

‘I cannot comprehend a life without my husband, my friend, my love.

‘I relive his last moments constantly. Did he see the lorry coming? Did he know he was going to die?

‘I am single for the first time since I was 19.

‘We had finished paying our 30 year mortgage two months before he was killed.

‘There is no more time shared with friends. Couples who are now lost to me because it is impossible to be in their company without him.

Mr Sullivan's widow Wendy (pictured) described her husband as having a 'wicked sense of humour'

Mr Sullivan’s widow Wendy (pictured) described her husband as having a ‘wicked sense of humour’

‘He had a wicked sense of humour. If you had known him you would consider it to be a privilege.

‘Our six year old grandchild asked me ‘What are we going to do at Christmas without Grandad Gorgeous?

‘He has decided that Grandad Gorgeous is the Northern Lights.’

Mr Sullivan’s stepdaughter, Laura Rochford, said driving has now become a trigger for her.

She said: ‘Driving has become more of a trigger as I drive with a heightened awareness. Motorways are triggering for me.

‘However, the most triggering for me is when I see a Royal Mail lorry or I just see the logo.

‘Our lives. have changed forever, we didn’t get to say our goodbyes. He was just gone.’

Sentencing today, Judge Nicholas Rowland said: ‘I have to sentence you for causing death by dangerous driving

‘I must start by saying there is no sentence that I can give that will reverse the tragic loss to David Sullivan’s family and friends.’

He added: ‘You fell asleep at the wheel approaching the queue of a roundabout.

‘You were driving without adequate sleep or rest.

‘CCTV evidence suggests it was just five seconds before the collision.’

Laura Lochford, Mr Sullivan's stepdaughter said that driving has become a trigger for her

Laura Lochford, Mr Sullivan’s stepdaughter said that driving has become a trigger for her

Nicholas Haggan KC, defending, said in mitigation: ‘Your honour, we submitted that it was clear from the evidence heard that there was nothing untoward about the defendant’s driving.

‘I would also submit that a matter of seconds before the impact, the defendant had fallen into what the experts described as a micro-sleep.

‘He probably fell asleep for about five seconds but of course this was devastating.

‘Since that accident, it has become clear that the defendants was at the time suffering from obstructive sleep apnoea.’

Mr Sullivan, from Wivelsfield Green, near Lewes, East Sussex, leaves behind six grandchildren.




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