Motorist faces court over cyclist death

Geelong Advertiser

Tuesday, January 21

DRIVING CHARGE: Sylvia Ciach outside Geelong Court yesterday.
LIKE a Mexican wave, is how a young woman's driving was described before the collision which resulted in the death of Ocean Grove cyclist Anthony Marsh, 36, just over a year ago.

Silvia Nicole Ciach, 22, of Avila Road, Curlewis, has been charged with culpable driving.

During a committal hearing in Geelong Magistrates' Court yesterday, Terrence Duvall, of Clifton Springs, said that at about 11.40am on December 30, 2001, he and his wife were travelling into Geelong on the Portarlington Road, when a silver car pulled alongside him.

Mr Duvall said he looked across and saw the female driver pressing buttons on a mobile phone in her left hand.

"I said to my wife, how blatant is that, with all the ads on television warning against using mobile phones while you're driving," he said.

Mr Duvall said the silver car overtook him and appeared to be wandering about the road.
"It looked a bit like a Mexican wave," he said.

Mr Duvall said the car continued on ahead and he thought no more about it until suddenly in the distance he saw what appeared to be a roll of carpet fly into the air.

Ingrid Duvall told the court her attention was drawn to the female driver of the silver car when she noticed the young woman pressing something.

"She then overtook us and swerved over into the bike lane, back onto the road and back into the bike lane again . . She did this three or four times and I was worried she was going to run off the road and hit a tree."

Mrs Duvall said the young woman went on ahead and a few seconds later, she saw a cloud of dust and something flying through the air.

Vodaphone systems analyst Joe Cartiz told the court that a check of Ms Ciach's mobile phone account that day showed she made just one 70 second call at 11.46am.

Allan Thurley of Seabrook, told the court that between 11.30am and noon on December 30, 2001 he was driving into Geelong with his partner when a silver car passed him.

He said he paid no attention to the woman's driving until he saw the car suddenly swerve to the left and into the bike lane.

The next thing he saw was Mr Marsh's body flying through the air.

The committal before Magistrate Max Beck has been adjourned until 2pm today.