Driver pleads guilty in fatal Beach Road hit and run

Christopher Hyslop, who hit and killed a bike rider last year on Beach Road, has pleaded guilty to culpable driving causing death, failing to stop after an accident and driving while disqualified in Melbourne County Court this week.

Deborah Locca, 60, was a beloved mother, highly respected school principal at South Oakleigh College and passionate bike rider, who was riding in the bike lane along Beach Road in Beaumaris when she was fatality struck from behind.

Her son David told the court he had shared his mother's passion for cycling, but could no longer ride or walk the routes they used to take, as both caused him to become overwhelmed with grief. 

“The night of the crime I had to drive along Beach Road looking for someone who never returned home. That is something nobody should ever have to endure,” Mr Locco said.

The court heard Hyslop, a father-of-three, was disqualified from driving and had barely slept in days when he struck Ms Locco on her Sunday afternoon bike ride.

Hyslop’s lawyer, Tim Marsh, said the 37-year-old had no memory of the crash as it was likely he was asleep when he veered into the bike lane.

Dashcam footage showed Hyslop veering into oncoming traffic numerous times before the crash, and drug tests showed methamphetamine, amphetamine and cannabis in his blood.

Prosecutor Kristie Churchill said his driving was impaired by fatigue after days of drug use and little rest, and a sleep expert estimated Hyslop’s impairment as the equivalent of a high range drink driver.

Mr Marsh said Hyslop “must have been... extremely fatigued” following his “fairly significant drug bender”, and conceded Hyslop faced a substantial jail term for his serious offending.

Hyslop failed to stop after hitting Ms Locco, and the court heard he had repeatedly said: “I hit him, I hit him. We gotta get out of here,” before pulling over in a side street and abandoning the car and his two passengers. 

Churchill concluded that Hyslop was “self centred”, lacked remorse and that leaving the crash showed “a high degree of callousness”.

Judge Elizabeth Brimer will sentence Hyslop at a later date.

But sadly nothing will bring Deborah Locca back to her family and friends, who Bicycle Network would like to extend our deepest support and sympathies to on behalf of the wider bike riding community. 

This Sunday is World Day Of Remembrance For Road Traffic Victims – our thoughts will be with Deborah's loved ones and all others who have lost their lives on our roads.

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.