Police and the family of a cyclist killed in a hit and run in Delacombe last week have said they "won't stop" until they get answers, as they made an emotional appeal to the community for information and footage.
The family of beloved Ballarat man, David Thomson, expressed their heartbreak to the media on Tuesday.
"Just like every other day", Sophie Thomson was taking her usual route to work about 7am last Thursday when she came across her colleagues processing a crime scene in Delacombe.
The detective senior constable, attached to the Criminal Investigation Unit at Ballarat Police Station, decided to pull over and ask if they needed any help.
"A detective sergeant I work with daily informed me that a cyclist had been hit and killed and a car had failed to stop. That cyclist was my father," an emotional Detective Senior Constable Thomson told the media on Tuesday.
"My world instantly broke. Dad had been tragically killed on the way to work and what's worse is that the coward didn't even stop or brake afterwards.
"I had unknowingly attended my dad's own crime scene. Please, imagine for a second what that would have been like and that the offending driver still hasn't come forward."
David Thomson, 60, had been cycling to his shift at Eureka Concrete on October 21. As Mr Thomson, more commonly known as "Thomo", peddled along Brazenor Street and approached the Latrobe Street intersection about 5.40am, the driver cut the corner and crossed on to the wrong side of the road.
My world instantly broke. Dad had been tragically killed on the way to work and what's worse is that the coward didn't even stop or brake afterwards.- Detective Senior Constable Sophie Thomson
Related coverage: Police believe car that hit cyclist will be damaged
The driver struck Mr Thomson but CCTV footage, which captured the incident, shows the driver did not brake and sped off.
Detective Senior Constable Thomson explained her dad was the reason she became a police officer and that they were very close.
"David was my father, my hero and my absolute rock. My dad was everything to me and so many others."
In the months prior to the incident, she said her dad had been walking and riding his bike to get fit, and had even told his daughter he would go on hiking trips with her.
"He was improving his fitness and desperately wanted to continue playing cricket, which he loved so much.
"Dad was advised cycling would be a good way to strengthen his old knees so he could continue playing and he also needed to keep up with his two grandchildren, Poppy and Slater, who were starting to run rings around him."
While noting nothing would bring her dad back and that her family was "just broken", she said finding the driver would give the family "a tiny bit of closure [they] desperately need".
Adding Ballarat was a small community, Detective Senior Constable Thomson appealed for anyone with information about the driver or the car that killed her dad to "say something" and contact police.
My police family won't stop looking for you.- Detective Senior Constable Sophie Thomson
She also made an impassioned plea to the driver: "To the driver, I know you are watching. Please hand yourself in. No person can live with this kind of guilt."
While grappling with grief, she said her family was hopeful they would get the answers they were so desperately seeking about Mr Thomson's last moments and would not give up.
"My dad deserves it and I think we deserve it," she said. "My police family won't stop looking for you."
Mr Thomson's son, Dylan, said the days since his dad's death had shown how loved he was.
"[There has been an] outpouring of people trying to help us and be around us. It shows how big a part of the community he was. He was a very, very loved man."
Mr Thomson moved to Ballarat at a young age and had spent the "vast majority" of his life playing cricket. Beginning to play aged 14, he played in two competitive cricket clubs throughout his life. More recently, he had started playing in a veterans' club.
"He wanted to better the club and wanted to be around everyone and support everyone he could. He was a genuine man of the community."
Victoria Police's Major Collision Investigation Unit is in charge of the investigation and on Tuesday released new CCTV footage of the car in the hours after the incident.
The footage, believed to be from Alfredton, shows an extensively damaged silver car travelling along a suburban Ballarat street just after 10am on the morning of the incident.
In an interview with The Courier on Tuesday, Detective Senior Constable Sandro Lombardi said the damage to the car was "really distinctive". While investigators appreciated the assistance of the community so far, he said police needed more information to find the car and the driver.
"The car has been described as a silver-coloured Japanese-style sports vehicle. The image released today shows damage consistent with the circumstances of the crash - the vehicle has the bonnet and windscreen removed."
He asked anyone travelling in the Delacombe area at the time of the incident to review their dash cam footage and for people living in the wider area to check CCTV footage.
People living in the Delacombe, Sebastopol and Alfredton areas with CCTV cameras, or those travelling in the area at the time, could have valuable footage or information which could solve the crime.
"We are still in the very early stages and the investigation will continue to progress with more assistance from the public.
"We won't stop. We want to get answers for the family, whose loved one is gone. Their dad, their husband, he is not coming home.
"We are urging the Ballarat community that if they recognise this vehicle or if they saw it on the day to report it."
He could not confirm whether the car was believed to be stolen, if the bonnet of the car had been found or what the driver was believed to have been doing in the area in the hours after hitting Mr Thomson.
He asked anyone with knowledge about what happened not to "impede the investigation by protecting the driver" but to "do the right thing for the family" and come forward.
"We want assistance from the public... And for anyone who recognises the vehicle to contact Crime Stoppers. They might be the person that holds the key to the whole puzzle."
Similarly, he appealed to the driver to hand themselves in to police.
On the day of the incident police obtained footage of the collision and he said "the driver cannot say he was unaware it happened. There was no braking. It just left the scene."
We won't stop. We want to get answers for the family, whose loved one is gone. Their dad, their husband, he is not coming home.- Detective Senior Constable Sandro Lombardi
He said these investigations brought out the "best and the worst of people" - while most people stopped to render assistance, others left their victims "to die" and it was "very hard to comprehend why someone would do that".
He said the driver may have fled and chosen not to come forward yet for a number of reasons. It could be because they panicked, the speed they were travelling, because they had taken drugs or because they had weapons in the car.
"At the end of the day you've taken someone's life and need to do the right thing and come forward."
A team of detectives are working through all leads, have spoken with witnesses who found Mr Thomson lying on the road after he had been hit and have canvassed CCTV footage from the area.
Detective Senior Constable Lombardi said evidence obtained so far showed Mr Thomson was "doing everything right" and if the driver had turned around the corner safely Mr Thomson "would still be alive and his family would still have a loved one".
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or to make a confidential report online.
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