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For the week of July 26 through August 1, 2000

Police dragnet

Law enforcement officials zero in on missing driver



This view east on Bullion Street, from approximately where Cody Boyd fell, shows the intersection of Bullion and Second Avenue. On the left is the Second Avenue stop sign which became a memorial to Boyd. He was traveling south on Second (from left to right in the photo). The truck he collided with was moving east to west—the same direction as the car in this photo. There is no stop sign at Second Avenue for vehicles traveling on Bullion. Express photo by David N. Seelig


Until police talk to the driver, they say many important questions will remain unanswered. Stoneback, for example said he has not ruled out homicide—but that it is possible the driver doesn’t know he or she killed Boyd.


By TRAVIS PURSER
Express Staff Writer

With a new witness and two hopeful leads, Hailey police say they could be zeroing in on the missing driver whose truck killed 9-year-old Cody Boyd two weeks ago.

Boyd collided with a large flatbed truck and trailer while riding his bike at the corner of Second Avenue and Bullion Street in Hailey, and died hours later from internal injuries.

The truck and driver never stopped.

With a general description from witnesses, police have been searching for the rig in hopes that they can then find the driver.

Police chief Jack Stoneback said during an interview at his office Monday that captain Brian McNary inspected trucks outside of the Wood River Valley during the weekend and Monday.

Tuesday afternoon, police were waiting for test results from a state crime lab that could positively identify the truck, Stoneback said in a telephone call yesterday. If so, that could lead to the driver later this week, he said.

Stoneback and McNary were reluctant to divulge specifics about the new witness or their leads for fear of contaminating the investigation.

McNary said the new witness surfaced after his wife read last Wednesday’s newspaper stories. Apparently, he said, the witness had briefly mentioned the collision to his wife, but neither of them considered talking to police until the following week’s stories.

"He doesn’t speak English," McNary said. "So I don’t think he heard or read any media. So when the articles came out and she read them, that’s when they really touched base about it."

McNary said the new witness has provided some crucial new details about the scene. For one, the witness was in a better position to see the color of the truck than the first witness, McNary said.

Until police talk to the driver, they say many important questions will remain unanswered. Stoneback, for example said he has not ruled out homicide—but that it is possible the driver doesn’t know he or she killed Boyd.

Two weeks after the collision, however, Stoneback is losing faith in that idea.

"Unless the guy lives out somewhere that doesn’t have TV, doesn’t have radio, [where] he doesn’t talk to anybody, it’s hard for me to believe that this person doesn’t know that he may have been the one that was involved in the accident," Stoneback said Monday.

If police find the truck and driver, Stoneback said the county prosecuting attorney will decide whether to file charges.

"There’s a difference between knowing you did it at the time and then, later on, figuring it out," he said. "There would be a difference in the crime. One would probably be a felony, which would be the manslaughter-type thing. The other would be failure to report an accident, which would be a misdemeanor."

Of course, there’s a good possibility current leads won’t pan out. In that case, Stoneback said he may have one or both of the witnesses hypnotized in an effort to dislodge psychologically buried details of what they saw.

Stoneback said he can recall the technique being used twice in his more than 30-year carrier, once successfully and once not.

But there’s a problem with hypnosis.

"People, when they see something really horrible," he said, "they block it out, because of the trauma. If we were to do this, say this guy wasn’t able to get over it—he could turn around and sue us."

More important than charging the driver, however, both Stoneback and McNary said they want questions answered for the sake of Cody’s mother, 29-year-old Rhea Bluechel.

Tying up the loose ends of the story could "help Mom not be wandering around for the rest of her life looking for a flatbed truck that ran over her kid," he said.

McNary, too, said he wants some "closure" to the case.

"I have some questions to ask, and I’m sure [Bluechel] has a few answers that she would like to know," he said Friday. "It’s more important to me for that than even the charge."

 

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