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Lorry driver jailed over cyclist’s death

An HGV driver whose lorry killed a cyclist in Wolverhampton has been jailed for three and a half years after West Midlands Police found he was under the influence of drugs and failed to give way at a junction.

Tests showed Joseph Large was over the limit for both cocaine and cannabis when the Volvo skip loader he was driving hit Paul Thompson as he cycled on Cullwick Road in Bilston on 26 November 2018. 

Joseph Large
Joseph Large

Mr Thompson suffered crush injuries and sadly died at the scene at 2.30pm.

CCTV obtained by officers from a nearby premises showed Mr Thompson cycling towards the junction with Hickman Avenue, with the skip loader emerging from the left, and without stopping the lorry pulled out onto Cullwick Street, knocking down 50-year-old Mr Thompson.

Large, aged 30, admitted during interview that he had taken cocaine the previous Saturday evening. 

Forensic tests confirmed he was over the limit for both cocaine and cannabis - with the cocaine result being over three times the permitted limit. 

He said the reason he did not see Mr Thompson was because the sun was glaring in his eyes as he looked right. 

Victim - Paul Thompson
Victim - Paul Thompson

Large, of Woodcross Lane, Coseley, denied causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drugs but, following a trial, he was convicted on 11 December. 

Yesterday (24 January) he was sentenced to a jail term of three and a half years and disqualified from driving for two years, at Stoke Crown Court. 

In sentencing Large, the judge said: "You had a duty of care whilst driving a vehicle of that size, especially to vulnerable road users. 

"But you were complacent about your knowledge of the junction and this was an avoidable accident."

PC David Crump, of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “As a professional lorry driver, Large ’s driving should have been of the very highest standards. 

"But he got behind the wheel of a 32-ton lorry having previously consumed cocaine and as a result of his actions Mr Thompson sadly lost his life.

“Our thoughts go out to Mr Thompson’s family at this difficult time. 

“And we would urge anyone to think twice before driving if they have had alcohol or taken drugs, as they can be putting the lives of other people in danger, as well as putting their own safety at risk."

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