A BENDIGO magistrate has determined there is sufficient evidence for the woman accused of dangerous driving causing the death of Bendigo cyclist Jason Lowndes’ to stand trial.
Billie Rodda, 21, appeared before the Bendigo Magistrates Court on Monday and pleaded not guilty to the charges of dangerous driving causing death, careless driving, and using a mobile phone while driving in relation to the fatal collision in December, 2017.
The Kangaroo Flat woman will appear before the County Court for a directions hearing on March 12.
A crown prosecutor told the court in September that Ms Rodda was sending text messages to her boyfriend while driving at 10:15 am on December 22, when her car collided with Mr Lowndes on Sedgwick Road, Mandurang.
The court heard Ms Rodda immediately stopped the car and called 000. Passers-by stopped to help, including two off-duty nurses who performed CPR until paramedics arrived.
Mr Lowndes was airlifted to Melbourne, but died in theatre early that afternoon.
On Monday, Ms Rodda’s defence counsel Rahim de Krester questioned Detective Leading Senior Constable Michael Hardiman and informant Detective Senior Constable Brendan Eames-Mayer, who were on scene hours after the incident.
Mr de Krester’s line of questioning focused on the location of Mr Lowndes at the time of the incident, and whether factors like shadows from surrounding trees affected Ms Rodda’s ability to see Mr Lowndes.
Detective Hardiman said police used data from the Garmin watch Mr Lowndes was wearing at the time of the crash to determine the speed and path he was cycling.
They used that data and the initial markers at the crime scene to reconstruct the crash on two separate occasions in July and August, last year.
Detective Hardiman said police recreated the scene using varying speeds of 70, 80, 90 and 100 kilometres per hour.
He said those reconstructions determined Ms Rodda was driving at 80-89 kilometres per hour at the point of impact, but said there was “no physical evidence” to determine the exact speed of the vehicle.
He also said that there could be “inaccuracies” in the Garmin data that would affect the proposed route Mr Lowndes was taking.
When defence counsel Mr de Krester queried about the window of time Ms Rodda would have had to see Mr Lowndes leading up to the incident, Detective Hardiman said he would “never be able to fully reconstruct the circumstances” and therefore “couldn’t say”.
Magistrate Bruce Cottrill determined there was sufficient evidence for Ms Rodda to stand trial.
Ms Rodda was supported in court by several people, including her parents who sat beside her during the proceedings.
Mr Lowndes’ parents, family members and friends were also present.
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