Shocked witnesses tried to save student trapped under truck
Published: 7th April 2011
by JAMIE WELHAM
A 20-YEAR-OLD woman who was dragged under a truck has become the latest cyclist to be killed on Camden’s roads.
The victim died minutes after the collision with a flatbed vehicle at the junction of Camden Road and St Pancras Way, in Camden Town, at around 3.15pm on Tuesday after paramedics fought in vain to save her.
The 65-year-old driver was arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.
Police have not named the woman, who is believed to be a student from Poland, and are still trying to trace her next of kin.
Ambulance teams tried to resuscitate her after she was freed from under the truck while suffering a cardiac arrest. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Staff from the Buchanan Motors garage opposite the junction, which has a notorious reputation for scrapes and near-misses locally, rushed to help, calling on doctors from the nearby Camden Road surgery.
Ian Small, a mechanic at the Camden Road garage, said: “I called the ambulance. I didn’t hear anything, but I looked up and the lorry was just stopped in the middle of the road. I could see the girl underneath. She was crushed and completely lifeless, just not moving. We had doctors from the surgery up the road out here. They used our first-aid kits, but there was nothing anybody could do.”
Police officers from the Met’s specialist road death investigation unit are leading an inquiry into the incident. They will try to piece together the circumstances of the collision to ascertain whether the cyclist was caught in the truck’s blind spot or if she had been cycling along the pavement in the opposite direction to traffic.
Forensics officers took photographs of the scene, which was cordoned off and closed to traffic for five hours until 8pm. A single floral bouquet was left at the roadside yesterday (Wednesday).
The truck, which was loaded with a crane, appeared to have been turning left into St Pancras Way when the collision happened.
The junction has traffic lights but does not have a bike box.
Liberal Democrat councillor and Camden cycling champion Paul Braithwaite said the junction was a well-known blackspot and called on Transport for London (TfL) to take action to make it safer.
He said: “Camden Council has been pressing TfL for years to do something about this particular junction. It is a racetrack for lorries and cyclists often get caught out. It is highly regrettable that it takes a fatality to get the attention of TfL.”
Cllr Braithwaite is urging transport bosses to install pedestrian crossing lights and a bike box to allow cyclists to get ahead of heavy traffic.
A Met police spokesman said: “We are investigating the death of a 20-year-old cyclist who was in a collision with a HGV. The 65-year-old driver was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.
“He has been bailed to return to a north London police station in June.”
A London Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “We were called just after 3.15pm to reports of a road traffic collision.
“We sent two ambulance crews, four responder units and an air ambulance crew in a vehicle.
“She was in cardiac arrest and we attempted to resuscitate her but she was pronounced dead at the scene at 3.30pm.”
Dorothy Elder, 22, a fashion student, was killed in November 2009 after being dragged under a bus at the junction of Theobald’s Road and Southampton Row in Holborn. The bus driver was cleared of causing her death by dangerous driving last month.
Maria Fernandez, a 24-year-old public relations student, died in June 2008 on Charterhouse Street in Clerkenwell after being hit by a dustcart which had stopped in the “bike box”, leaving Ms Fernandez in the driver’s blind spot. An inquest reached a verdict of accidental death.
Emma Foa, 56, a mother of two from Hampstead, was killed by a cement mixer on Camley Street, King’s Cross in December 2006. An inquest was told the driver, Michael Thorn, was sorting papers in his cab as he turned left. He was later fined £300.
Wendy Gay, a 42-year-old picture researcher from Chalk Farm, was killed by a lorry on Euston Road in July 2006. A verdict of accidental death was later recorded at the inquest into her death. The driver was arrested but reportedly left the country after being released on bail.
Dancer Wan-Chen Chang, 31, who had performed at Sadler’s Wells, was killed after being knocked off her bike on her way home to Hackney. She was hit by a lorry turning left at Southampton Row and Vernon Place in Holborn in September 2008.