Lorry driver killed cyclist over the limit and on mobile phone

A MUSWELL Hill lorry driver who killed a cyclist while over the alcohol limit and on his mobile phone has been banned from driving for life and jailed for seven years.

During his trial, it was revealed Dennis Putz, 51, of Colney Hatch Lane, had already received 20 previous disqualifications, three drink drive convictions and three previous convictions for reckless driving before he hit 39-year-old Catriona Patel.

Putz was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving after he drove his lorry over Mrs Patel just outside Oval tube station on June 2009.

Mrs Patel a regular cyclist, was wearing a hi-visibility jacket and a helmet and cycling her normal route to work on that Monday morning. At around 8.20am, she stopped at a red light, in the cycle reservoir and front of a large green tipper lorry just at the junction of Kennington Park Road and Harleyford Street.

As the lights turned green, Mrs Patel pulled off, intending to go straight across the junction. Putz, who not only was 50 per cent over the drink drive limit, but was driving with one hand on the wheel while on his mobile phone, turned left.

The truck caught the rear wheel of Mrs Patel’s bike, dragging her underneath the vehicle. Witnesses watched in horror as Putz failed to notice what he had done. Only when passers-by began banging on the side of his vehicle did Putz finally stop.

Mrs Patel was given first aid by passers-by and taken to the Royal London hospital by air ambulance but sadly died at 11.30am that morning.

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The post mortem found that Mrs Patel, of Common Mile Close, Clapham had died from a ruptured spleen, fractured ribs, lung laceration and pelvic fractures.

Putz stated the cyclist must have been in his blind spot but the court heard she had in fact been in his view for at least 29 seconds before he moved off and began to turn left and remained in view throughout the turn until he was stopped by members of the public.

Senior investigating officer Detective Constable Tony Tobin said: “Our thoughts are with Catriona’s husband and the rest of her family as they have to deal with her loss every day.

“Dennis Putz started driving a large tipper truck that day still 1.5 times the legal drink drive limit. He was also using a mobile telephone as he hit Catriona. The combination of the size of vehicle, drink and phone came together to produce such tragic consequences.”

DCI Nick Chalmers from Traffic’s Road Death Investigation Unit added: “Dennis Putz ignored the duty of care he had to other road users, which resulted in the tragic death of this young woman.

“The MPS takes this sort of crime seriously and the traffic department now has some of London’s most experienced detectives investigating fatal road collisions.

“If someone dies on one of the capital’s roads as a result of dangerous driving, the investigation will be thorough, professional and relentless.”