Female lorry driver ‘distraught’ after being followed by councillor for 15 miles
- Credit: Emma Fulcher
A councillor frustrated with lorries driving through his town took it upon himself to follow a female HGV driver for 15 miles in his car, leaving her “scared” and “intimidated’.
Victor Lukaniuk, the councillor involved, yesterday defended his actions saying it was part of an ongoing project to monitor lorries involved in construction work at nearby RAF Lakenheath. He refused to apologise to the driver and has been spoken to by the police about the incident.
However, Emma Fulcher, 24, said she was concerned for her safety after she was followed from Brandon to Thetford. She said that even when she twice drove around a roundabout and slowed down to allow him to pass, he continued.
The incident began on Wednesday, January 29 when Ms Fulcher, a Rory J Holbrook driver, loaded a lorry at Brandon. When she made a delivery in Wangford Road at Lakenheath she saw the male had parked nearby and was taking photographs.
Despite various attempts to lose him, he persisted until she reached Thetford, where he was then confronted by her boss and left.
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The 24-year-old said: "The distance he followed me was alarming, especially when you're on your own. I was intimidated because I knew it was a male.
"It was going on for quite a while, I was deliberately doing under the speed limit to shake him off and I looped around the roundabout twice and so did he.
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"It made me feel uncomfortable and I became quite distraught because I didn't know what was going to happen."
The West Suffolk and Brandon town councillor claimed the council have been tasked with monitoring HGVs travelling through the town.
Mr Lukaniuk was eventually confronted by Ms Fulcher's transport manager, Ben Williams, after she called for his help and he advised her to pull into the BP garage at Thetford.
When asked why he was acting in such a way, Mr Williams said the town councillor introduced himself but failed to explain why he was following her lorry.
The incident was reported to Suffolk Police who said the individual will be given "words of advice".
There have been issues in Brandon with lorries due to the Kier-VolkerFitzpatrick joint venture (KVF35), a £160 million contract to deliver new infrastructure to ready RAF Lakenheath for the first permanent home in Europe of the US Air Force F-35 Fighter Jet.
Mr Lukaniuk said: "I'm looking at the bigger picture. We have an awful problem with HGVs and some councillors have been asked to do a HGV count and we have been encouraged to do that by the KVF35 project.
"The town was assured that there will be no HGVs passing through the town from the aggregate company but at the council we have reason to think otherwise.
"We are monitoring HGVs through the town and we are perfectly entitled to do that."