Driver jailed for fatal swerve at cyclist

A suspended Melbourne driver with a "deplorable" record behind the wheel has been jailed for killing a cyclist and fleeing the scene.

Matthew O'Connor, 28, was on bail when he mowed down and killed cyclist Peter McGuffie, on a June afternoon in 2016 at West Footscray.

Before he was jailed for five years on Friday, O'Connor apologised to Mr McGuffie's loved ones.

"I'd just like to let you know I'm truly sorry for what I have done to your family," he said.

"I can't ever imagine how hard it must be for you to deal with and live with it for the rest of your life.

"It's something I now have to live with for the rest of my life."

Witnesses reported O'Connor's Holden ute suddenly swerving when he hit Mr McGuffie, 54.

O'Connor continued driving, hitting the rear of another vehicle and swerving before dumping his ute in a dead-end street and shedding his clothes as he fled on foot.

At the time, he was on bail for offences including motor vehicle theft, and using and trafficking amphetamines.

Police found him hiding the next day.

He admitted he fled because he was "just freaking out".

Judge Peter Wischusen on Friday labelled O'Connor's driving "deplorable".

"The sudden swerve ... is wholly unexplained and quite inexcusable," he said.

The court was told the scaffolder and father-of-one has a long history of gambling and drug abuse, including of ice.

O'Connor recalled little of the crash.

He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death, failing to stop and render assistance, committing an indictable offence on bail and driving while suspended.

He must serve a minimum three years' jail and is disqualified from driving for two years.

The sentence takes into account 324 days he has already served in pre-sentence custody.

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