Cyclist run down and killed by drug-fuelled truckie
AS Stephen Eberhard left his Mid North home for a triweekly 50km bike ride last year, his wife, Annette, prophetically warned him to "be careful".
It was the last time she would see her husband of almost 42 years before he was hit and killed by a drug-fuelled truckie on Port Pirie's outskirts on March 15 last year, she told a court on Wednesday.
Mrs Eberhard, 61, had learnt on social media of an accident involving a cyclist and a semi-trailer, a short distance away.
Fearing her husband, also 61, had injured himself she drove 10 minutes to the crash site with their four-year-old grandson she was babysitting, where she asked a roadblock police officer whether he was involved.
When she was asked to sit in a patrol car, she immediately knew the father of two, grandfather of five, and popular community stalwart had died.
The truck driver, father-of-one Sean Anthony Daley, 48, of Two Wells, north of Adelaide, faces life imprisonment after admitting his aggravated dangerous driving death.
Affected by methamphetamine, he also admits seriously injuring fellow Port Pirie Cycle Club riders John Dennis and club president Hugh Patterson, both then 64, as they rode along their regular route on Germein Rd, Solomontown.
During an emotional District Court sentencing submissions hearing in Port Augusta on Wednesday, 13 of the trio's friends and family gave powerful victim impact statements laying bare their anger, grief and trauma.
Mrs Eberhard, whose statement was read out by prosecutor Ryan Williams, told of her pain and anger as she paid tribute to "Pop", a loving, intelligent family man, who had a dry sense of humour and whom was enjoying a "well-earned" retirement.
She told how cycling was his life, how proud he was of children Mark, 41, and Loren, 34, and his grandchildren, aged between 12 and four, as well as his active community work. Tears, she said, flowed daily.
"He died doing what he loved doing, doing something that should be safe, something that no one should ever be killed from," she wrote. "Steve was my friend, my lover, my life partner.
"All of the things we had worked towards as a couple, the family we had created together, this is what I see ahead, alone.
"I have no one to talk to, no one to joke with, no more Steve. The loneliness is very depressing and upsetting. It is not right that I have to grieve every day, doing nothing to deserve it."
Criticising a drug-blighted transport industry, she and her children - who also gave moving statements - called for the "maximum" sentence to send a "clear message" that if you "destroy other people's lives, then expect the full force of the law to destroy yours".
Daley, who faces separate trucking offences, fought tears as he apologised from the dock.
All parties declined to comment outside court. Judge Gordon Barratt will hear further submissions later this month.