TRAVERSE CITY — Police still don’t know whether the hit-and-run death of a Traverse City bicyclist was a drunken driving accident or an intentional attack.
Traverse City Police Capt. Mike Ayling said many questions remain about the death of Kelly Ann Boyce, 29, killed when a driver struck her as she pedaled toward her Washington Street home early July 5. The case continues to be shrouded in mystery despite two weeks of nearly round-the-clock police work and more than 350 tips from the public.
“We’re still basically at the same place we were (July 5),” he said.
A road mark from the incident is still visible on the pavement from the 600 block of Washington Street where Boyce was struck at about 1:50 a.m. Investigators have been stymied in efforts to pick up the vehicle’s trail after it disappeared at the Railroad Street alley where Boyce was dragged.
They’ve had to wade through sparse, sometimes conflicting, witness reports and scant physical evidence.
Most witnesses described seeing a medium-sized or small dark pickup truck or SUV, but Ayling said dim lighting means a silver vehicle described by one witness is still “on the table.”
He said police can’t discount “striking similarities” between other vehicle and bicyclist collisions in 2010 and 2012 around the time of the National Cherry Festival. All involved women who rode their bicycles east in downtown Traverse City and were struck from behind, perhaps intentionally, by a dark pickup truck or SUV. But other evidence -- such as the early hours after the July 4 holiday -- could indicate a drunken driver.
“One of the marks as the vehicle was driving away appears to be an over-correction as you go around the corner -- the driver comes back toward curb like he over-corrected a turn,” Ayling said. “That’s indicative of someone who’s been drinking. At the same time, there was also a parked car very close to the initial collision site that would have been difficult for a drunk driver to maneuver around. And he did.”
Michigan State Police crash reconstructionists recently mapped the scene in the event a suspect goes to trial. Ayling said the majority of the tips involve dark vehicles with heavy front-end damage, but investigators aren’t convinced the vehicle has significant or even minor damage.
“We believe it was a very low-speed collision and might not have any damage,” he said. “There certainly was no evidence the vehicle was damaged at the scene. There were no car parts, no heavy brake marks or obvious collisions with another object.”
City street crews await a go-ahead from investigators to remove one piece of evidence that some find painful to see -- a long mark on the road heading to the alley. City street Superintendent Mike Jones said several residents called to complain about the mark.
“It’s just making everybody sick driving by it,” he said. “They don’t want to use the road anymore.”
Members of the public with information on the case can call detectives at 231-995-5152 or call the anonymous tips line at 231-947-8477.