Tributes have been paid to a Herts cyclist who was left to die after being hit by a drug driver.
Stephen Allitt, of Hillfield Lane, Aldenham, was speeding and under the influence of cocaine when he hit Nicholas Keeler, 44, in the early hours of Sunday, February 11, 2018.
Mr Keeler, from Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, was struck from behind as he cycled along the B462 Radlett Road on his usual route home.
Allitt fled the scene before police found a damaged black Mitsubishi L200 a short distance away, before police arrested its owner on suspicion of dangerous driving. While in custody he provided a positive drugs test.
The police investigation found that Allitt was travelling at between 51mph and 60mph despite the road’s 50mph speed limit, while the drugs test found cocaine in the driver’s system and indicated the presence of cannabis at some point before the sample was taken.
Despite the best efforts of the emergency services, Mr Keeler passed away at the scene.
The investigation concluded the 44-year-old would have been clearly visible as he was wearing a high-vis jacket and his bike lights were all on.
Yesterday (Thursday, November 12) at St Albans Crown Court, Allitt was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison and has been disqualified from driving for four years and four months.
Sergeant James Thorne, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit, said: “The findings of our investigation concluded that the level of drugs within Allitt’s system may have caused impaired reactions such that he failed to detect Nicholas cycling ahead and therefore did not react to his presence.
“Allitt’s sentence should serve as a reminder to those who think it is acceptable to use drugs and drive. Of course, it will not make up for the loss of Nicholas but I hope it goes towards providing his family with some closure.”
Tributes paid to ‘generous’ Nicholas Keeler
At the time of his death Mr Keeler’s family paid tribute to the “colourful” and “generous” man.
His mother, Monique, said: “He always saw a bright future for everyone and despite what has happened, Nick would have wanted everyone to celebrate his life.
“He will be truly missed and we will carry his memory in our hearts forever.”
Monique added that because of his strong environmental beliefs he would cycle to work whatever the weather, instead of driving.
She said: “He would go through three or four bikes a year because of the mileage.
“He loved his work and enjoyed being with people. Every night when he came home from work he was in a good mood.”
He worked as a customer operations advisor at Just Eat where he was known for his eccentricities, including dressing in flares and colourful clothing.
His nephew and best friend, Rob Lloyd, said: “He loved the eighties, he liked his flares and even wore them to work.
“He was colourful there is no doubt about that. He was just unique.”