Prosecutor: Suspect in deadly hit-and-run was driving home from bar

kterhune@idahostatesman.comSeptember 30, 2013 

— A Boise man who faces a felony after police say he struck and killed a cyclist knew he had hit a person, prosecutors alleged at Gavin Bradford Haley’s Monday arraignment.

On the night Victor Haskell died, they said, Haley was driving his Land Rover home from a bar. The car struck Haskell at about 12:15 a.m. Thursday on State Street. Police said the 53-year-old Haskell, who had lights on his bicycle but was not wearing a helmet, may have ridden into the street to get around construction.

A witness who heard a “thump” originally thought the SUV had struck a road sign. That person watched Haley stop and get out of the car to look at what he had hit, then drive away, prosecutors said.

But Haley denied seeing the injured man. He told police after turning himself in Friday that he knew he had struck something, but did not realize it was a cyclist. Haley said he looked up and down the street, but never spotted Haskell’s body.

Haley's defense attorney, Jon Cox, said his client did not realize he had hit anyone until after Haley saw media reports about Haskell’s death and remembered crashing into something in that area.

The impact from the hit pushed Haskell into a small pit in the sidewalk left from the construction, where he was found about eight hours later. If so much time could pass without other drivers or pedestrians spotting the body, it was entirely possible that Haley did not see the man when he stopped either, Cox said.

Haley faces one charge — leaving the scene of an injury accident, which carries a punishment of up to five years in prison. No one with the Ada County Prosecutor's Office was available to comment Monday on the charging decision.

Prosecutors pointed to Haley’s criminal history when petitioning to hold him on a $500,000 bond. Haley was convicted of burglary in 2004, and has a handful of other violations, both as a juvenile and adult.

Cox asked for bond to be set at $25,000, citing Haley’s ties to the area and his willingness to turn himself in after he found out that police were looking for him.

The judge set bond at $250,000, telling the courtroom that she was taking both Haley’s past convictions and the seriousness of the charge into account. She also barred Haley from driving or consuming alcohol.

Haley's next court date is a preliminary hearing, set for 8:30 a.m. Oct. 9.

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