One-Star Google Review a Clue in Fatal Hit-and-Run

The man who left it witnessed the Florida crime
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2023 1:50 PM CDT
One-Star Google Review a Clue in Fatal Hit-and-Run
Law enforcement determined the one-star review was left by Ismael Gonzalez.   (Getty Images)

"The last thing I saw before I shut my eyes was the side of the truck." That's the recollection of Tiffany Fletcher, who was headed to a saloon in Riverview, Florida, with her boyfriend on June 9 when a truck made a U-turn into their lane. She said Kirk Adams unsuccessfully tried to swerve their Yamaha motorcycle out of the truck's path. The 59-year-old died days later; Fletcher, 38, suffered a head injury and broken leg; the driver of the pickup fled. As the Tampa Bay Times reports, an unusual clue helped police make an arrest: a one-star review left on Google.

Surveillance video from an area company showed a white pickup making the U-turn. The truck's tailgate advertised a business: Arbor Pros. The Washington Post reports a Google search of the business returned, among other things, a recently posted Google review that read:

  • "Just doing this review because the owner or son of the owner had a big accident on 301 and Balm River involving a couple on a motorcycle. The thing is he [fled] the scene and all I got was his company name on his white truck. Please if anyone seen his truck with a hit on the passenger side that's the bike that he hit and ran like a coward. putting this here in case he didn't Turn himself in yet."

The Google search also linked Arbor Pros Tree Service with Chad Stall, who'd previously been ticketed while driving a white 2010 Ford F-250 pickup that was registered to his mother. A sheriff's sergeant went to her home and encountered Stall and a damaged Ford pickup. Detectives say the story he told—that an employee told him the car was hit at a work site, and that his mom drove him on the day in question—didn't check out.

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Though the Google review was posted under an alias, law enforcement determined it had been written by Ismael Gonzalez, who told a detective on July 6 he witnessed the crash and followed the pickup, flashing his lights and honking until the driver slowed. Per an affidavit, Gonzalez said the driver told him, "aggressively," that he was aware of what happened and planned to return to the scene; Gonzalez then drove off, citing the driver's aggressive nature. Stall, who previously served time for manslaughter, was arrested the next day. He has been charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving death and leaving the scene of a crash involving serious injury and faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted. (More car crash stories.)

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