Friends demand answers over AA van crash that killed 'gentle' cab driver Abdullah Bakar in Coombe Road, South Croydon
Friends and colleagues of a "gentle and kind" taxi driver killed when his car broke free from an AA tow-van have called for an urgent investigation into his death.
Abdullah Bakar, of St James's Road, Croydon, died of head injuries when his broken-down Vauxhall Zafira came loose from the recovery vehicle and careered into an oncoming car in Coombe Lane last Tuesday.
The 48-year-old, described by friends as a loving family man with seven children, had been in the driver's seat of his car when it crashed near the junction with Lloyd Park Road.
Witnesses said the car veered to the left and bumped into a roadside verge, rolled over and then snapped free from the rigid bar which linked it to the AA van.
The driver of the second car involved in the collision suffered minor chest injuries.
A police officer inspects Mr Bakar's car on Tuesday
Usman Patel, a former colleague at cab firm Eazy Cars, which Mr Bakar used to co-own, rushed to his hospital bed but found he had been pronounced dead just before 11am.
Mr Patel, 48, said: "I was at the hospital but when I reached it was about 2pm, so I wasn't able to see him for the last time.He did not have any scars on his body - no marks, nothing.
"It was just the way he hit his head.
"He was very nice. Humble. He was was well-known, a good man and on top of that a loving person. He was down-to-earth. We used to joke all the time."
It is understood Somalian Mr Bakar, who left Battersea-based Eazy Cars three months ago to train to be a black cab driver, called the AA when his car's clutch failed.
Mr Patel questioned the decision to tow his friend's car with him sat inside it.
He said: "They made a silly mistake to put him in the car while they were driving at the same. Something went wrong very seriously. It was a very bad accident and it should not have happened."
Mavis Constable, Mr Bakar's neighbour, added: "We have to ask questions and it needs to be looked at properly."
The 73-year-old also paid tribute to Mr Bakar, who she said was a dedicated to his family despite being separated from his wife.
She added: "He was very nice, very gentle and kind. He was quite private and quiet. He was a family man, always looking after his children.
"They were always going bounding up and down the stairs. His family went up to his flat the day after it happened and the youngest children was just sat crying.
"It is such a shock what has happened. When I heard it I just froze."
Mr Bakar's car was being pulled by an AA van when the crash happened
Sayesh Mehta, 51, who runs a shop across the road from Mr Bakar's flat, said: "He used to come in and buy his tobacco. He was a really nice guy, very genuine and very straightfoward."
Andrea Fernandes, who lived next door to Mr Bakar, described him as "a nice guy who kept to himself".
An AA spokesman said the company was awaiting the outcome of a Metropolitan Police investigation into the crash.
He added: "We would like to express our sincere condolences to the member’s family. While the circumstances are under investigation, we are unable to comment further."
Police have appealed for witnesses to call 020 8285 1574. No arrests have been made.
Did you know Abdullah Bakar? Call the newsdesk on 0208 722 6351 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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