'Loving mother' was killed by lorry driver on the phone to his wife

A lorry driver who ploughed into a woman as she cycled back home from work has been jailed after a court heard he was on the phone to his wife at the time of the crash. Marek Witulski, 40, was driving his white Scania lorry southbound on the A141 near Chatteris on on December 3, 2018 when the terrible incident happened. His victim, Hilary Cox, was cycling back to her home in Chatteris after work.

It was a route she had been taking for many years. Hilary, 59, was only half a mile from the Green Welly Cafe where she worked when Witulski came up behind her. He passed her so closely that he hit her handlebars, throwing Hilary from her bike into the road and causing her a significant head injury.

The Green Welly cafe where Hilary had been working the day she was hit

Meanwhile Witulski stopped his lorry further up the road because he though he had “heard a noise”.

Hilary was rushed to Addenbrooke’s Hospital with life-threatening injuries, but died the next day. In tribute to Hilary, her family called her “a loving wife, mother, sister and friend”. They added: “She gave to so many throughout her life, and asked for nothing in return.

She will be sorely missed by everyone who knows her.”

Witulski had been on the phone to his wife

An investigation into what happened found Witulski had been speaking to his wife on a hands-free phone at the time. In addition, he admitted in interview the sun bouncing off the wet road had impaired his vision but he had made no attempt to rectify the situation, continuing to drive while dazzled. Witluski, of Thistle Gardens, Spalding, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving.

At Peterborough Crown Court on Thursday (January 23) he was jailed for eight months and disqualified from driving for two years and four months.

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Sergeant Mark Dollard, from Cambridgeshire Constabulary, said: “This case highlights the dangers of driving while distracted, particularly when the weather conditions are not favourable. Witulski was driving his HGV on a particularly sunny day, causing him to be dazzled. Instead of taking additional precautions he continued to drive as he would normally.

“He failed to see Mrs Cox on her bicycle, hitting her which tragically resulted in her death. This was compounded by the fact he was on his phone. It is accepted his phone was on loud speaker and was being used hands free, but he is going to have to spend the rest of his life wondering if this distraction caused him to not see Mrs Cox.

“I urge all drivers to ensure they pay careful attention to driving, and be particularly aware of vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians.”

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