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Driver held after cyclists die

Independent Online: Driver held after cyclists die

March 10 2010 at 09:32AM Get IOL on your

By Caryn Dolley

A motorist suspected of smashing into a group of cyclists outside Oudtshoorn three days ago, killing three of them and injuring another, has been charged with culpable homicide.

George Aspenaal, 62, was arrested early yesterday and appeared in the Oudtshoorn Magistrate's Court.

He was released on R500 bail.

Aspenaal is accused of crashing into cyclists Jan Eloff, 72, Frank Nel, 60, and Magda van Lill, 50 about 9km from Oudtshoorn on the R62.

A fourth cyclist, Walter Langdon, 23, was injured and hospitalised. Yesterday he was reported to be in a stable condition.

On Monday Thinus Eloff, Jan Eloff's son, said Aspenaal had apparently told police he had been wanting to overtake a truck in his bakkie

But when he did so, the sun had blinded him and he had not seen the group of 11 cyclists.

Yesterday Essie Esterhuizen, owner of Oudtshoorn Bicycles, said the community was still in shock.

He had been friends with all three killed.

"Frank and I were very, very close friends for 13 years. This is terrible."

Esterhuizen said the number of cyclists killed in car accidents in the area since November 7 was six.

"It's very hard for us."

He spent yesterday planning a ceremony to be held at the spot where Eloff, Nel and Van Lill lost their lives on Monday.

Scores were expected to cycle to the spot to place a wreath.

Nel is to be buried from Welgeluk Church tomorrow at 10am. Eloff's funeral will be in West Bank at 2pm.

Van Lill will be laid to rest on Friday morning in West Bank.