Driver denies seeing cyclist before crash

Last updated 05:00 23/11/2011
CHARGED: Yvonne van Roy is charged with careless use of a motor vehicle causing death.
CHARGED: Yvonne van Roy is charged with careless use of a motor vehicle causing death.

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Cyclist Benjamin Lawless and Victoria University academic Yvonne van Roy should have had several seconds to see each other the night of the fatal collision between her car and his bike.

But van Roy told police afterwards that the first she saw of Mr Lawless was when he was spreadeagled on the road, dying. "I didn't see anything at all," she said.

Van Roy, 62, an associate professor of accounting and commerce, has been charged with careless use of a vehicle, causing the death of Mr Lawless. She pleaded not guilty when she appeared in Wellington District Court yesterday.

Mr Lawless, 22, died of head injuries at the scene of the collision at the intersection of Allington and Makara roads in Karori on January 22. He had been on his way home from visiting his sister, Jennifer.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Jason May told the court the issue in the case was lighting at the intersection.

The defence confirmed that all elements of the offence had been agreed except for whether van Roy had seen Mr Lawless.

Police serious crash unit analyst Sergeant Peter Sowter said each party should have had some seconds to be aware of the other approaching.

Mr Lawless was coming down Allington Rd toward Karori near midnight.

Police say he had a light on his helmet.

Van Roy, heading back to her home in Karori from Wainuiomata, was about to turn into Makara Rd.

Mr Sowter said the right-hand side of the bike and Mr Lawless hit the front of the car, he went up on to the bonnet then into the windscreen.

Mr Sowter found an LED light embedded in the windscreen and a lens inside van Roy's car. He found batteries nearby that were working.

The mountain bike was in good condition, had reflective strips on the pedals and a red rear light.

Jennifer Lawless described her brother visiting her two to three times a week.

Often she saw him as he was about to leave and watched him put on a helmet with a light on it.

She said they had had many conversations about cycling and he assured her he used the lights.

She had seen him switch it on before, but did not see him leave the night he died.

The case, before Judge Tom Broadmore, is expected to finish today.

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- The Dominion Post

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