Dandenong woman released over hit-run

Greater Dandenong Highway Patrol Sergeant Jerome Ithier, Robert Clarke and Donna Clarke. 329572_02. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS.

By Sahar Foladi

A 40 year old Dandenong woman has been released from custody after coming forward to police about a hit-run collision in Noble Park that left a cyclist injured.

The woman was interviewed after Greater Dandenong Highway Patrol’s Sergeant Jerome Ithier held a media conference and urged the driver to turn themselves in.

“I’m appealing to the driver to hand yourself in. What you’ve done is deliberate, dangerous and reckless,” Mr Ithier had said.

The woman was released pending further enquiries, police say.

The investigation remains “ongoing”.

The cyclist injured in what was described as a “deliberate” hit-run collision was deemed lucky to survive without a single broken bone.

The 59 year-old Pakenham man was cycling his way to Dandenong railway station to get to work when he was passed by a 2008-2017 white Mitsubishi Lancer on Douglas Street at 6.40am on Thursday 13 April.

Cyclist Robert Clarke and his wife Donna were very emotional when they described the incident on 17 April.

“Just to think that a human being could do that to another human being, I’m just blown away,” Mrs Clarke said.

“I actually don’t know how he doesn’t even have a broken finger, not even a single broken bone.”

The white Mitsubishi Lancer stopped, allowed Mr Clarke to pass on the left hand side, then “deliberately accelerated” and veered to the left, striking Mr Clarke and leaving him injured.

“On that particular morning as I was going into Chandler Road I heard the acceleration behind me. I just continued on because that was my path, doing nothing wrong, I felt,” Mr Clarke said.

As an experienced cyclist, Mr Clarke has been cycling in that area for almost seven years.

“There were dark windows. I heard the acceleration and I just thought here’s another smartass. They’ll just rev, scare me and keep going and the next thing the world is spinning.

“I get a lot of abuse as a cyclist and this one hit.”

Fortunately, the incident was recorded in dashcam footage by a vehicle behind the Lancer.

Mr Clarke survived the incident, grazed and bruised and taken to the hospital for treatment.

“I can’t sit down properly. Both cheeks are patched up. I guess I had something in my backpack. I’ve got some internal injury in the back of my ribcage. I might flinch every now and then,” Mr Clarke said.

Greater Dandenong Highway Patrol Sergeant Jerome Ithier said: “Often collisions like this depending on where, how you’re struck and how you fall, you could easily lose your life over this.

The bicycle was stuck under the front tyre of the white Lancer and dragged for almost 100 metres.

“I think anyone who partakes in this particular behaviour should not be on our roads.

“This sort of behaviour is dangerous, it’s reckless and it’s fortunate that no one was killed or seriously injured as a result of this.”

Police say the white Lancer didn’t have registration plates.

“If you’re involved in a collision, stop and help the person. It’s certainly not something you should be leaving,” Mr Ithier said.

The car was tracked down and last seen on CCTV on Lightwood Road in Noble Park.

For Mr Clarke, this incident triggered unpleasant memories as he tried to hold back tears.

“This emotion in particular goes back to a ride I did in 2017 in the Indian Pacific Wheel Race where a rider was killed and the whole race was cancelled.”

Mr Clarke urges the driver to hand themselves in.

His other advice is: “Give up driving. Don’t reproduce.”

His passion for cycling has not been deterred as he looks forward to his recovery.

“I’ve cycled for many years down highways, remote country roads, things like Pacific Wheel races.

“You know the dangers are there. You keep to the left, do the right things, have helmets, have lights and you respect heavy vehicles.

“If I wasn’t hurting right now and I had a bike I would still ride.”

The horrifying incident was captured on dashcam footage.