A 26-year-old cyclist from Simon’s Town faces a long road to recovery after he was hit by an alleged drunk driver in December last year, says his coach.
Mike Moriarty and Dewald van der Westhuizen were on a routine cycle, on Thursday December 21, when the incident happened. Mr Van der Westhuizen was training for a triathlon.
Mr Moriarty said Mr Van der Westhuizen had since had three operations on his leg and was awaiting a skin graft, and although he was still in ICU, he remained positive.
CCTV footage of the incident shows a white VW Polo crashing into two cyclists on Glencairn Main Road before speeding off.
A member of the South African Navy, Able Seaman Garth Pasha, 27, was arrested in Fish Hoek later that day, according to Simon’s Town police chief Captain Vishnu Pillay.
He appeared in the Simon’s Town Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday December 27, facing charges of attempted murder, reckless and negligent driving, and driving under the influence.
He was granted bail of R5 000, and his driver’s licence was confiscated. He is not allowed to drive while the case is under investigation.
He has since been suspended by the navy.
The case was postponed to February 16 for further investigation.
Mr Moriarty said that he and Mr Van der Westhuizen had left Harbour Bay Mall at 5am. They were usually part of a group of five cyclists that rode to Smitswinkel Bay every Tuesday and Thursday but due to the fire, the road had been closed and some of the other cyclists had been unable to make it.
The two men took the route along Glencairn Main Road in the direction of Dixies Restaurant.
Mr Moriarty said it had been a quiet morning and he had heard the car coming and then the impact as it had hit Mr Van der Westhuizen, who had been flung into him.
Mr Moriarty said he had escaped with a few cuts and bruises, but Mr Van der Westhuizen had been lying unconscious on the ground with “extensive” damage to his leg.
He said the driver had stopped about 100 metres down the road, gotten out of his car and looked at them.
“I was screaming at him to come back and help us, but he got back into the car and drove off,” he said. “It is beyond me how he could just drive away from the scene. There should be just punishment for him.”
A nearby resident called the police and an ambulance.
Mr Moriarty said he had moved Mr Van der Westhuizen onto the pavement, and a private security guard had stopped to help them and keep cars at bay.
Mr Van der Westhuizen was stabilised and taken to hospital.
“Dewald had just bought a new bike, and it was a complete write-off,” Mr Moriarty said.
Neil Robinson, the CEO of the Pedal Power Association, said: “We once again appeal to all road users to have some decency and common respect for all who use the road.”
In the Western Cape, motorists had to leave a space of at least one metre when passing motorists, and the association would be pushing to have that law enforced and promulgated throughout the country, he said.
“We will continue to work with provincial and local traffic and governments to help bring about practical interventions which can help prevent this ongoing carnage on our roads.”