In a recent court ruling, a three-year prison sentence was handed down in the Kuilsriver Magistrate’s Court to Geoffrey Merrick who killed Dr Koos Roux in 2013 in a hit-and-run incident.
In May 2013, Merrick crashed into Dr Roux who was cycling with his son on Bottelary Road, well within the road shoulder. Merrick fled the scene but was arrested ten days later after debris found on the scene matched that of his car.
Merrick was found guilty of culpable homicide as well as three Road Act infringements. Sections 61 (1) (a),(b) and (c) of the National Road Traffic Act 93 of 1996, which states the following:
Section 61 (1) (a), “that the driver, must immediately stop the vehicle and report the accident; Section 61 (1) (b) – ascertain the nature and extent of any injury sustained by any person; and Section 61 (1) (c) – if a person is injured, render such assistance to the injured person as he or she may be capable of rendering”.
In 2013, a compulsory law was introduced in the Western Cape for motorists to overtake a cyclist with a minimum passing distance of 1m.
According to magistrate Abdul Kader Jamalie, Merrick was grossly negligent as he left the victim and his shocked son next to the road to fend for themselves. Mr Roux might have survived the crash, if Mr Merrick had remained at the scene to assist.
State prosecutor Luzanne Williams also expressed her satisfaction with the outcome of the trial. “This is the sentence that we have asked for, so we are pleased with the outcome,” Williams said.
Mr Merrick’s lawyer has appealed the sentence, but it could take a few years to get to the High Court. In the meantime, the sentence stands.