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Fatal hit-and-run suspect in court again, bond set at $25k

Fatal hit-and-run suspect in court...

SPOKANE, Wash. - According to probable cause documents, Bobby F. Bowerman initially denied involvement in a hit-and-run crash that killed a pedestrian on Saturday, but later told them he had been the driver and was distraught to the point of suicide about the collision. 

Bowerman, 36, is charged with the vehicular hit-and-run death of Melissa Tolliver. Tolliver was crossing in a marked crosswalk at Holland Avenue at around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday. Court documents include testimony from several drivers and a runner who saw her in the crosswalk. 

Those witnesses said a dark colored Nissan pickup truck failed to yield, hit Tolliver while she crossed the street and made no attempt to stop but, rather, “appeared to accelerate.” 

Tolliver died at the scene. 

Shortly after 11:00 p.m. the next day, November 12, a Spokane Police officer noticed a truck matching the description of the truck that killed Tolliver at a traffic light in North Spokane. The truck was not only similar in color and make, but it had what the officer described as “fresh damage” to the front driver's side of the vehicle. 

The officer made a traffic stop and identified the driver as Bobby F. Bowerman. Bowerman told the officer he had been in Hayden, Idaho the night before, with a woman he met on a dating site. He said his car had been damaged while it was parked at the Spokane Arena during a Garth Brooks concert Sunday afternoon. 

In an attempt to verify Bowerman's story, the officer contacted SPD dispatch to look into the state of Idaho's BOSS system- an automated license plate reader. According to court documents, Bowerman's vehicle had not been picked up by the BOSS reader since September 2, 2017. An officer went to the location at the arena that Bowerman claimed his car had been damaged, but did not see any signs of an accident. 

Bowerman was released after that interview, but was contacted shortly after midnight and taken to the police department. 

In an interview there, Bowerman maintained his story until confronted with inconsistencies- his presence in Hayden and the accident at the arena. Bowerman then admitted to being the driver of the truck that hit and killed Tolliver, telling detectives “that's exactly what happened.” 

Bowerman said he knew he hit something, but he “completely panicked” and kept going. He later told detectives he knew he had hit a person. 

Court documents also say Bowerman claimed he was distraught to the point of suicide, and drove around after the accident thinking of ways to kill himself. He said he sent a text message to his mother to tell her he loved her, before he planned to commit suicide. 

Bowerman also wrote a letter of apology in which he said “I've never had to do this and it brings tears to my eyes that my son has a messed up father who killed an innocent human .” 

Bowerman was arrested and charged with vehicular hit-and-run death. He made his first appearance on Monday afternoon, but the probable cause documents were not ready. Bowerman was held for another 24 hours and made a second appearance in court Tuesday. His bond was set at $25,000.