Outgoing Loddon Shire Council mayor Gavan Holt has shown remorse after fleeing the scene of a hit and run car accident.
Cr Holt was driving the mayoral car after a council meeting two weeks ago when his vehicle collided with another car on the Wedderburn-Serpentine Road around 10pm.
Cr Holt admitted he did not stop his vehicle – a Holden Statesman – after the smash with the old-model Mercedes Benz, but instead drove away.
“My mistake was not immediately stopping,” Cr Holt told the Bendigo Advertiser.
“I was in a state of shock … I feel sick.”
According to Cr Holt and the Loddon Shire Council, the car accident was a “side swipe” which left both vehicles damaged but the drivers uninjured.
“The damage to a vehicle – that can be fixed. If it’s injury or something worse ... well, fortunately that didn't happen,” Cr Holt said.
I made a mistake. I am openly admitting it.Loddon mayor Gavan Holt
The outgoing mayor said he realised his mistake but had already driven some distance from the crash site when his left tyre blew, leaving him on foot.
Cr Holt claims he was unable to return to the site and the other driver had already approached a nearby farm stay to report the accident.
“I'm a councillor, I'm held to a higher standard,” he said.
“I made a mistake. I am openly admitting it.
“I've seen what happens to politicians when we lie, and the lie is worse than the event.”
Cr Holt said he had “nothing to be dishonest about” and police were continuing their investigations.
He denied any suggestion of drink driving.
“I was certainly not over the limit,” he said.
He said there were food and refreshments at the council meeting, which finished at 5pm, five hours before the accident.
Cr Holt said he had “quite a long conversation” with the new mayor-elect before driving home.
Loddon Shire Council CEO John McLinden said the cars were being assessed for damage.
“We are concerned that this has occurred, but accidents do happen and we will do what we need to do to support the mayor and other community members,” Mr McLinden said.
Wedderburn police confirmed there had been an accident but would not comment to the Bendigo Advertiser as the matter is still under investigation.