COUNCIL BLUFFS — A former Council Bluffs police officer has been charged with leaving the scene of a fatality in connection with the death of a bicyclist in May.
Robert G. Christensen, 56, turned himself in to authorities Tuesday. He is charged in connection with a crash involving a bicyclist that occurred shortly after 2 a.m. May 11 on Old Lincoln Highway near Northline Drive.
Pottawattamie County sheriff’s deputies who responded to the scene found William Shepard, 55, in the east ditch near his mountain bike with its front and rear light illuminated. Shepard was taken to a Council Bluffs hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Shortly after 7:30 a.m. that day, Christensen contacted Pottawattamie County emergency communications and said he may have been the driver who struck Shepard, according to an affidavit filed in Pottawattamie County District Court.
The affidavit said Christensen told 911 that he had been in the area at the time of the collision and thought he had struck a deer until he saw on the news that a bicyclist had been struck.
Deputies went to Christensen’s home and saw damage to his 2014 Ford pickup that they determined was consistent with striking a pedestrian.
Investigating officers found a video that showed a clear view of Christensen’s driveway. The video shows a vehicle arriving at 2:11 a.m. At 2:59 a.m., a different truck left Christensen’s residence, returning nine minutes later.
Cruiser video from the accident scene shows a truck similar to the one that left Christensen’s residence at 2:59 a.m. driving through the accident scene at 3:03 a.m.
According to the affidavit, “Based on this investigation, it has been determined that Christensen was operating his 2014 Ford F-150 northbound on Old Lincoln Highway near Northline Drive on May 11, 2019, at approximately 0209 hours.
“Shepard was traveling northbound near the northbound fog lane on Old Lincoln Highway on a bike equipped with both front and rear illuminated lights,” the affidavit stated. “Christensen’s F-150 did strike Shepard in a rear end manner or collision causing Shepard to be thrown backwards on top of the hood of the truck. Both Shepard and his bicycle came to rest in the east ditch near the point of impact.
“Evidence exists that shows Christensen did not stop at the time of the collision and continued to his residence. Based on this investigation it is clear that Christensen did cause the death of a person while operating a motor vehicle and failed to immediately stop or return.”
Joe Hrvol, Christensen’s attorney, said he had no comment on the case.
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