BY MATT TROUTMAN
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Detectives continued to probe whether a man at the center of a promising tip in the Kelly Ann Boyce hit-and-run death investigation has an alibi for the night a motorist struck and killed the Traverse City bicyclist.
Police spent much of the last two weeks focused on a tip about a man who splits his time between Traverse City and Alpena County. Police Capt. Mike Ayling said the man definitely was in Traverse City on July 5 when Boyce, 29, died.
Investigators are conducting interviews with people who might have information about the man’s whereabouts that night.
“We interviewed one of the witnesses (Thursday) and we have four to go,” Ayling said. “Those are people who might be an alibi to him.”
Police in Traverse City and Alpena have interviewed the man and conducted several warrant searches over the past two weeks. Ayling said police haven’t yet tried to determine if the man was in Traverse City around the time of two similar hit-and-run incidents in 2010 and 2012, when female bicyclists reported a vehicle similar to the one witnesses said struck Boyce deliberately tried to run them over.
“I haven’t got there yet, but I will,” he said.
Ayling cautioned the investigation may well confirm the man was nowhere near the 600 block of Washington Street where Boyce pedaled her bicycle before was struck and dragged for more than a block by a vehicle witnesses described as a dark pickup truck or SUV.
“We’ve received probably five tips since the beginning that we’ve spent hundreds of hours on. This is one of five,” Ayling said. “We so far don’t have anything really pointing at this person, but we don’t have anything so far that says he didn’t do it, either. We probably spent more time on one specific tip that took us to Chicago, and finally, after a couple hundred hours, ruled that out. This could very well be ruled out today, tomorrow or the next day.”
All but about 50 of 600 tips forwarded to Boyce case investigators have been ruled out. Seven tips were made Thursday alone, and matched the number of tips received in a separate hit-and-run case involving a Kalkaska man who was critically injured by an unknown motorist at the intersection of Seventh and Cedar streets on Aug. 7.
The victim in that case, Richard McClellan Jr., 44, was listed in fair condition at Munson Medical Center on Friday, said hospital spokesman Dale Killingbeck. Ayling said police tried to interview McClellan on Wednesday, but he was unable to speak.
Police don’t believe the Boyce and McClellan hit-and-run incidents are related.
A witness in the McClellan hit-and-run case described seeing a newer model white General Motors-brand pickup truck, possibly a 2010 or 2011 model, with four doors or an extended cab. Ayling said investigators in the Boyce case are becoming more focused on tips involving people, rather than vehicles with damage.
“Truthfully, I think the person-related tips are much more prone to be the one we’re looking for,” he said. “We don’t even know if there will be damage to the car. If we get one about a person we look at it much more closely.”
Members of the public with information on either case are asked to contact the Traverse City Police Department at 231-995-5152 or the anonymous tip line at 231-947-TIPS (8477).