The driver of the Porsche which allegedly hit prominent South African triathlete Andre Piehl was released on bail due to “lack of evidence”.
Piehl died last Saturday after an allegedly drunk driver knocked him off his bike while he was cycling in the Cradle of Humankind.
A second cyclist, Jean du Preez, was airlifted to hospital in critical condition. Megan Harrington-Johnson from HJW Attorneys said the victims’ families were devastated the suspect was released from custody on Tuesday.
“We understand from the prosecutors that despite the suspect having been arrested at the scene of the accident, at his vehicle, which was incapable of being driven away due to the damage it sustained when he hit the victims whilst [according to various witnesses] he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol – the police provided the prosecutors with insufficient evidence to place the matter on the role,” Harrington-Johnson said.
Club 100 Cycling Club chairman Terry Millar said their members had come across the accident and assisted.
“Our safety driver noticed there was only one vehicle licence disc lying on the dashboard and it was not for that vehicle,” he said.
Millar said some of the club’s members had spoken to the driver, who had not shown any remorse.
“They were informed the driver tried to drive away from the scene but was stopped by a tow truck. He then [allegedly] tried to bribe the tow truck driver,” he said.
Millar said the wives of the deceased and the injured cyclist were at the scene. “The wife of the injured cyclist is an anaesthetist and helped operate after Jean du Preez was airlifted to Millpark Hospital. He is critical,” he said.
Du Preez’s condition further deteriorated and he was placed on dialysis after a kidney failure. Piehl was an operations executive with Famous Brands. The company’s chief operating officer Derrian Nadauld described him as “a full-on guy who lived life to the max in everything he did”.
“Piehl joined the Famous Brands family nearly 15 years ago and held various management and executive roles across several of our brands. Over the years, Andre received several accolades for his work,” he said.
An ironman triathlete, Piehl realised his dream of competing in the Ironman Triathlon World Championships in Kona, Hawaii a few years ago.
“He was passionate about everything he undertook and cared deeply for people, none more so than his dear wife Sharon and their teenage twins, Tyler and Axel,” he said.