A bus driver whose driving killed a “very special" York school employee has been jailed for four years and eight months.

Jonathan Eaves swerved violently into the path of Saskia Bets, 27, as she drove to work at Hob Moor Oaks Academy in Acomb from her home in Easingwold, York Crown Court heard.

She died later at Hull Royal Infirmary from major brain injuries.

She specialised in working with children with autism and/or learning difficulties.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Saskia Bets, behaviour and well being mentor for Hob Moor Oaks AcademySaskia Bets, behaviour and well being mentor for Hob Moor Oaks Academy (Image: North Yorkshire Police)

Soheil Khan, prosecuting, said Eaves was at the wheel of an empty Reliant Motor Services bus and didn’t see a cyclist ahead of him on a clear straight stretch of the A19 south of Easingwold before dawn on January 26, 2021, despite the cyclist wearing reflective clothing, having a flashing red light and being visible for at least 30 seconds.

Only when he was almost on top of the cyclist did he swerve to avoid a collision, clipping the bike’s handlebars and driving into Saskia’s path as she drove in the opposite direction.

“She had no time to take any evasive action,” he said.

Eaves, 22 at the time and 25 now, of Moss Nook Drive, Preston, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving. He was sacked by Reliant Motor Services following the crash.

“The common sense inference is clear,” Judge Simon Hickey told Eaves. “You mustn’t have been keeping a proper lookout. Something must have been distracting you. I don’t know what – perhaps only you know that.”

Mr Khan told York Crown Court of a series of incidents in the weeks leading up to the fatal crash when Eaves appeared to have been driving while distracted or not concentrating on the road.

He had been caught on camera driving with both hands off the wheel as he waved a bottle around wearing headphones and apparently listening to music, opening a can of drink or a box of sweets or something similar as he drove, and watching himself doing things with one hand including pressing the touchscreen of his smart watch.

He had been involved in a series of lesser collisions while driving his bus, told a friend he had had very little sleep, was taking anti-depressants and was so tired he had taken coffee and Red Bull to stay alert when driving from Halifax.

The judge jailed Eaves for four years and eight months and banned him from driving for six years and four months.

“Rightly and hopefully you will never be behind the wheel of such a vehicle again,” he told Eaves.

The judge told York Crown Court of Saskia: “She was very special person loved by her family, missed by many, in short an extraordinary young woman taken from us far too soon.”

Darlington and Stockton Times: Saskia Bets

Defence solicitor advocate Graham Parkin said: “This incident will live with the defendant for the rest of his life.”

He had made a series of small errors, such as not stopping in a layby shortly before the crash scene to clean his windscreen from spray thrown up by a passing lorry, which together meant he had been driving dangerously. There had also been a period when the cyclist’s rear light may not have been visible.

Eaves had not intended to injure anyone that morning.

He had continued to work following the crash and handed in references which he said confirmed that Eaves’ new employers knew about the court case against him.

He had been doing voluntary work with people with learning difficulties.

He also had mental health problems which had deteriorated since the crash.