YORK Co., Va. – Court documents are shedding light into what happened the day a cyclist was killed in York County.
The York-Poquoson Sheriff's Office said officers arrested 25-year-old Alexander Michael Crosby on November 9 and charged him with involuntary manslaughter, reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident that killed 50-year-old Brian Utne.
A few days later they arrested his boss, Robert Strickland, and charged him with misdemeanor accessory after the fact, misdemeanor obstruction of justice and felony concealing or compounding evidence (B).
Court documents show that Strickland was Crosby's employer at Heritage Gardens Tree and Lawn Care Service.
Police report that Crosby hit Utne while driving a work truck after leaving a nearby job site. Documents said Crosby left the scene, then called Strickland.
When the 61-year-old found out what happened, he said he "would take care of it," according to court filings. Documents state that the two then met later in the night to assess the truck's damage.
It was then that court records show Strickland had the vehicle towed away and repaired.
Court records also indicate that authorities used jailhouse phone calls, a tip to crime line and interviews with other employees at the tree care service company to make the arrests.
According to a witness, records state that Strickland is accused of requesting the truck to get towed, saying it hit a deer. Strickland allegedly told all employees to tell anyone who asked about the incident to say Crosby had struck a deer, the documents say.
Meanwhile, loved ones continue to mourn the loss of Utne.
Those who knew Utne told News 3 that he loved riding his bicycle. No matter what time of day or temperature, they said you could find him on the roads.
50-year-old Utne was a ride leader of multiple community bike rides, and the bicycling community held a memorial ride in his honor on November 3.
Friends also erected a Ghost Bike and small memorial with flowers, decorations and thoughtful notes.
They told News 3 he was always looking out for other riders and making sure the group was safe on the road.
"It's [heartbreaking] for this tragedy to happen, especially knowing he was doing the right things. He had his lights on his bicycle," said longtime friend, Sean Houlihan.
Cyclist and friend Tregg Hartley said he hopes Utne's death will be a wake-up call for drivers.
"When you're coming up on a cyclist, don't think of them as an obstacle. They are a mother, brother, a son, a daughter, a parent," said Hartley, who is the president of the Peninsula Bicycling Association.
Utne's widow told News 3 although nothing will ever bring her husband back, she's happy that someone is being held accountable for his murder. She said her family will be present during the court proceedings to make sure Crosby is brought to justice.
According to online court records, Crosby faces various charges in Henrico County, New Kent County and Williamsburg. In some cases, the offenses date back to 2013.
In Williamsburg, Crosby's four felony charges have been certified to the grand jury, which means the judge found enough probable cause for the case to be looked at by the grand jury.
Those charges include two counts of grand larceny, larceny with the intent to sell/distribute and entering a structure to commit assault and battery, etc.
In Henrico County, Crosby was found guilty of petit larceny <$200 not from a person and not guilty for CA/petit larceny. Online court records show he also has payments pay due for these offenses, which happened in 2015.
Crosby has the most offenses in Kent County. Online documents show there were 17 charges over five years, many of which he was found guilty. Those include a previous conviction of reckless driving and eluding police.
Strickland and Crosby appeared in York County General District Court on Monday, April 22, where the following charges were certified to a grand jury/misdemeanor:
- Involuntary manslaughter in vehicle
- Fail to stop accident/felony death
- Reckless driving - generally misdemeanor (certified misdemeanor)
- Destroy evidence of a felony offense
- Obstruct/resist without force (certified misdemeanor)
- Accessory after the fact in felony (certified misdemeanor)