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.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.