Woman charged over death of triathlete Luke Harrop

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) A 41-year-old woman was charged Tuesday over the death of Australian triathlete Luke Harrop, a Commonwealth Games hopeful who was knocked off his bike on the Gold Coast on Saturday and died a day later in hospital.

Sandra Jaye Wilde, originally from Wellington, New Zealand, appeared weary during a brief hearing in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Tuesday after a three-day police hunt ended with her arrest.

Wilde has been charged with unlawful killing, unlawful use of a motor car and two counts of negligence causing bodily harm. Harrop, 24, was thrown over a concrete barrier after being hit by the car, which had been stolen. He received severe head injuries and was admitted to the Gold Coast Hospital's intensive care unit, where he later succumbed.

Gold Coast Police Inspector David Marshall said Wilde sped away from the scene, dumping the car which had been stolen about six days ago before changing her clothes.

One of Harrop's companions, 26-year-old Craig O'Connell, was also struck by the car and was admitted to hospital with two broken vertebrae.

Harrop, the brother of Goodwill Games triathlon champion and Australian Olympian Loretta Harrop, was preparing for Sunday's second round of the national Australian triathlon series at Surfers Paradise. Fellow triathletes were told of Harrop's death in a loudspeaker announcement during Sunday's race.

Harrop, O'Connell and another rider were leading a squad of 20 riders training under coach Col Stewart, who said the local triathlon community has been deeply affected by the accident.

"He is an absolute world-class athlete,'' Stewart said of Harrop, who was second in the 2001 Triathlon Australia national series.

Harrop finished second in the 2001 Triathlon Australia national series and third in the 2001 Australian sprint championships.

His funeral will be held Thursday in Brisbane.

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