Argus hit-and-run driver gets off lightly

2011-07-28 22:14
Cape Town - A motorist who swerved his bakkie into a group of cyclists practising for a cycle tour, killing one of them, was given a suspended jail sentence by the Wynberg Regional Court on Thursday.

Andries Zuiderma, 39, was sentenced to five years suspended for five years on a charge of culpable homicide (manslaughter).

He was also sentenced to three years house arrest.

Zuiderma was also fined R5 000 or nine months in jail for failing to stop after the crash in March 2006.

At the request of defence attorney William Booth, he was allowed to pay the fine off in monthly instalments of R1 000.

Magistrate Karel Meyer who suspended Zuiderma's driver's licence for nine months at the request of prosecutor Bantu Nyembezi.

Cyclist Jan-Hendrik Olivier, 39, of Johannesburg, who was in the Cape with his wife and family for the Cape Argus cycle tour, died in the crash.

Meyer said there was a national campaign to make motorists aware of cyclists on the road.

He said there was also an outcry against motorists who did not care about other road users, including cyclists.

Meyer said even if he had jailed Zuiderma, as the Olivier family had wanted, it would not bring Olivier back to life.

"You killed a husband and a father of a family in a hit and run incident that must have been most traumatic for those who survived. The death will be on the minds of the family for the rest of their lives," he told Zuiderma.

Meyer said Zuiderma could consider himself lucky that he had been acquitted on the charge of drunken driving.

Had he been found guilty, a prison sentence on the culpable homicide charge would have been the only option.

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