Spalding lorry driver jailed for killing cyclist

A lorry driver from Spalding has been jailed after he killed a cyclist while on a hands free phone call to his wife. Marek Witulski, 40, of Thistle Gardens, Spalding, was driving his HGV southbound on the A141 near Chatteris in Cambridgeshire on December 3, 2018, when the collision occurred. Hilary Cox, 59, was cycling home to Chatteris after work at the Green Welly Cafe in Doddington Road, a route she had taken regularly for many years.

She had gone about half a mile when Witulski came from behind travelling in the same direction. His Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) made contact with her bicycle handlebars, causing her to fall from the bike onto the road, resulting in a significant head injury. Witulski stopped the HGV further up the road as he “heard a noise.”

Despite the best efforts of staff at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge she died the following day. 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 of causing death by careless driving. He was jailed for eight months and disqualified from driving for two years and four months at Peterborough Crown Court on January 23. Sergeant Mark Dollard from Cambridgeshire Police 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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