The haulage firm that owns the tipper lorry being driven by Dennis Putz that killed London cyclist Catriona Patel in June has said it is “very sorry” after it emerged that another of its trucks was involved in an accident earlier this week in which a Japanese businessman died.
Putz was sentenced last month at Inner London Crown Court to seven years’ imprisonment and banned from driving for life after being convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.
It was revealed that he was over the alcohol limit after drinking a minimum of seven pints of Guinness the previous evening, and he was also talking on his mobile phone at the time the fatal crash took place.
On Tuesday, a 51-year-old Japanese businessman who had just landed at London Heathrow Airport died when a lorry belonging to Thames Materials crashed through the central reservation of the A4 at Chiswick and hit the taxi he was travelling in, reports the Evening Standard. The 44-year-old driver has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.
A spokesman for Thames Materials, which is based in Hanwell, West London, told the newspaper: “We are very sorry about both cases. We are working very closely with police to try to understand what happened. It has been very hard for us as a company.”
The Standard added that the spokesman refused to confirm whether or not the driver in the latest incident had been suspended, or whether the firm was taking steps to improve its vehicles’ safety.
That last point is pertinent to the Catriona Patel case because the court learnt that Putz had previously been twice jailed for driving offences, the first for reckless driving, the second for 16 counts of driving a lorry while disqualified. That has led cycle campaigners to ask how he could have ended up behind the steering wheel of a lorry again.
London Cycling Campaign is currently running a No More Lethal Lorries campaign that is focused on reducing the heavy casualty toll inflicted on the capital's cyclists by HGVs.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.