A FATAL crash in 2019 that claimed the life of a motorcycle rider at Marong is at the centre of a jury trial at the Bendigo County Court.
Desperate attempts to save the rider's life were described to the court on Wednesday, including CPR administered to him at the scene. The attempts were ultimately unsuccessful and the rider, Norman Suckling, died from his injuries.
The jurors were told the collision between Mr Suckling's Harley Davidson motorbike and a truck driven by beekeeper Rapple Borris Tadeje occurred on a "winding, hilly" intersection of the Calder Alternative Highway and Bullock Road at Marong.
The court was told there was an advisory speed of 90km/h hour in each direction on that stretch of road.
Prosecutor David Cordy said there was no forensic way to determine the speed of Mr Suckling's motorbike at that time, but there was evidence the truck had been braking hard and it had left a skid mark on the road.
The court was told Mr Tadeje had been attempting to turn right into Bullock Road, to deliver a load of bee hives to their destination, when he collided with Mr Suckling.
Mr Tadeje, now aged 32, is on trial for dangerous driving causing death in relation to the crash on October 29, 2019.
Mr Cordy said investigators had determined the truck was travelling at a low speed and the driver had not been affected by alcohol, drugs or fatigue at the time.
Mr Tadeje had been following another vehicle, belonging to the same company - Pure Peninsula - at the time. The court was told Mr Tedeje, along with a passenger inside the truck, and his colleague driving the lead vehicle all stopped to render assistance.
The jury was told that the efforts of investigators at the scene were complicated by a swarm of local bees that surrounded the hives on the back of Mr Tedeje's truck.
The hives were full of honey but no insects at the time, when they attracted bees from the nearby surrounds. The Pure Peninsula workers were able to relocate the hives to assist police.
A mechanical investigator for Victoria Police who later examined both the truck and motorcycle at a separate location determined that both had been roadworthy and there were no faults in either vehicle that would have contributed to the collision.
He described the Harley Davidson as a "big touring bike" model.
The court heard from a witness in a separate vehicle, retired farmer Francis Collins, that the Harley Davidson's headlight was on and was being ridden normally just before the crash.
He estimated the motorcycle was being ridden about 100-105 km/h.
Mr Collins said he had previously owned a motorcycle and was familiar with them.
He made his speed estimate based on the noises he heard coming from its engine and the way it was being ridden.
Mr Collins said there was a bridge near the intersection of the Calder Alternative Highway and Bullock Road at Marong.
He agreed, when asked, he thought the area could fairly be described as "dangerous".
A further witness account was given to the court, describing the collision from the point of view of the truck's passenger.
The man, who was 24 at the time of the collision, was not at court and his statement was instead read aloud by Mr Cordy.
The passenger said he and Mr Tedeje had spent time together on the evening before the crash.
He recalled offering Mr Tedeje a beer but it was refused.
He said Mr Tedeje had declined the offer because he knew he would be driving.
The witness described Mr Tedeje as a "very responsible and good driver".
The passenger said he had not seen what happened in the lead-up to the collision because he had been looking down at the time.
"I remember Rapple saying 'sh*t, sh*t' and then I suddenly heard a bang," he said.
"We were turning right ... at the time I think the truck was doing about 10km/h. It was really slow."
The trial before Judge Fran Dalziel continues today.
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