November 12, 1997 in Nation/World

Suspect In Accident Was Drinking, Police Say Woman Checked Truck For Damage And Drove Off, Victim’s Friend Says

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A Post Falls woman jailed on charges that she killed a 13-year-old boy on his way home from school had been drinking before the hit-and-run accident, police said.

Connie C. Bickley, 54, was driving a 1986 pickup west on Seltice Way when she veered off a straight stretch of road and hit Nicholas R. Scherling from behind Monday night, the Idaho State Police said.

Scherling, a Post Falls Middle School student, was taken to Kootenai Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. Seventh-grader Gavin Krieg, a friend and classmate who was riding his bicycle home with Scherling, was not injured.

“She stopped to look at the damage to the front of the truck and drove away,” Scherling’s grandmother, Virginia, said, recalling what Krieg had told family members.

Police arrested Bickley late Monday at her home about a mile from the accident scene. She was being held Tuesday in the Kootenai County Jail on charges of vehicular manslaughter, aggravated driving under the influence and leaving the scene of a fatal accident.

Bickley had been drinking at Post Falls taverns before the accident, Sgt. Jay Komosinski said.

Scherling, who attended the second of two shifts at the middle school, was on his way home when the accident occurred about 6:15 p.m. along an unlighted portion of Seltice Way near its intersection with McGuire Road. The seventh-grader was pushing or carrying his bicycle in the dirt well off the paved shoulder, police said.

A roadside memorial left at the scene Tuesday by friends and family members was about 10 feet from the edge of the road. Police said they are uncertain what caused the woman to stray so far from the road.

“The evidence at the scene indicates she merely drove off the road onto the dirt and then drove back onto the road,” Komosinski said.

Bickley drove the pickup home after hitting the boy, police said. Investigators are trying to determine how many drinks Bickley had before driving, Komosinski said.

Blood drawn from Bickley after the accident has been sent to the state crime lab. Results of blood-alcohol tests will not be available for several days.

Bickley’s fiance, who was driving behind her, was questioned as a witness and released.

The man is not expected to be charged with a crime.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: NICHOLAS SCHERLING Nicholas “Nick” Scherling, 13, was a seventh-grader at Post Falls Middle School. Scherling enjoyed bicycling, singing in his church choir and participating in Scouts.

This sidebar appeared with the story: NICHOLAS SCHERLING Nicholas “Nick” Scherling, 13, was a seventh-grader at Post Falls Middle School. Scherling enjoyed bicycling, singing in his church choir and participating in Scouts.


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