DAVID John Evans was not in a rush and had nowhere to be as he approached the Stockton bridge on a clear afternoon in August last year.
And yet, through his driving, he appeared impatient.
Motorists heading north and south on Nelson Bay Road were drawn to how close Evans's blue Ford Falcon was travelling behind a white van in the left lane.
And as the traffic went through the roundabout on the northern approach to the bridge, Evans swung his car into the right lane to overtake the van and pull in front of a Toyota Aurion.
But the gap between the vehicles was too narrow and Evans quickly swung back into his lane.
Then, with only a similar narrow gap between his car and the Aurion, Evans made the fatal mistake to try and overtake again, his car clipping the front passenger side of the Aurion and spinning out of control across to the wrong side of the road where it collided heavily with a Ford Falcon ute coming the other way.
The impact pushed the ute into the front of a BMW travelling in the same direction, which ruptured the ute's fuel tank and the car burst into flames.
Joseph Gregory Cordner, 57, the driver of the ute, suffered serious burns but managed to climb out of the wreckage through a window.
The driver of the BMW, 68-year-old George Boshev, suffered fractured ribs and bruising, but managed to get out of his car.
The driver of the Aurion was uninjured and told police at the scene: "I don't know what happened he just tried to merge in between my car and a van in front but there wasn't near enough room."
He was arrested and later blood and urine samples revealed he had drugs and alcohol in his system that forensic pharmacologist Judith Pearl opined would have impaired his driving.
But it was Evans who was responsible for causing the crash that killed Mr Cordner, the uncle of Australian rugby league captain Boyd Cordner, and injuring Mr Boshev, the partner and co-founder of law firm Bale Boshev.
Evans, of Margaret Street, Belmont, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving occasioning death and causing bodily harm by misconduct in Newcastle Local Court and will be sentenced in Newcastle District Court later in the year.
During an interview with police, Evans said he went to merge into the right lane and "obviously misjudged where the car was".
He said the Aurion hit his car hard as he merged and he felt a bang and lost control.