RIVERVIEW, Fla. – A one-star Google review for a west-central Florida business led to the arrest of a man accused of leaving the scene of a hit-and-run accident involving a motorcycle, which caused the bike driver’s death and a serious injury to his passenger, authorities said.
Chad Martin Stall, 29, of Riverview, Florida, was arrested on July 7 and charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving death, leaving the scene of a crash involving serious injury and providing false information to law enforcement, according to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office online booking records and county court records.
On July 27, the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s office said it would pursue the first two charges and drop the third, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Stall is accused of striking a motorcycle driven by David Kirk Adams, 59, of Riverview, while making a U-turn to travel north on U.S. 301 in the Tampa suburb of Riverview on June 9, according to the newspaper. Stall was driving a white Ford F-150 pickup when he allegedly cut in front of Adams, who was traveling north with a passenger, Tiffany Fletcher, court records show. The couple was heading to a bar to shoot pool when Adams swerved to try and avoid the pickup.
“The last thing I saw before I shut my eyes was the side of the truck,” Fletcher, 38, of Riverview, told the Times.
Adams, a father of four, died from his injuries on June 14 at Tampa General Hospital, according to his online obituary.
What led to Stall’s arrest was a one-star review on Google for a business called Arbor Pros Trees Service, The Washington Post reported.
Detectives with the sheriff’s office found surveillance video on the day of the crash from Remington Feed, a business located near the crash site on U.S. 301, according to the Times. The video showed the pickup making a U-turn at Pine Avenue, and Adams’ motorcycle is shown striking the rear passenger-side door, according to the newspaper.
Other surveillance videos showed what appeared to be the same truck with an Arbor Pros marking on the tailgate, the Times reported.
A detective looked up the business on Google and found an online business card for Arbor Pros Tree Service that had Stall’s name on it, according to the newspaper.
According to Florida online business records, Stall is listed as the registered agent for the limited liability company.
When the detective visited the company’s website, they found a one-star review posted a week earlier by “Alex Right,” that addressed the hit-and-run accident.
“Just doing this review because the owner or son of the owner had a big accident on 301 and Balm River (Balm Riverview Road) involving a couple on a motorcycle,” the Google review read, according to online court documents. “The thing is he flew 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 review has since been removed from the business’ website.
A detective interviewed the Google reviewer, Ismael Gonzalez, 40, on July 6, the Times reported. It was unclear how authorities learned Gonzalez’s identity.
According to Gonzalez, he followed Stall after the crash, honking his horn, pulling next to him and shouting that he had hit a motorcycle and needed to return to the scene “and do the right thing,” the newspaper reported.
The two men met in a parking lot of a nearby business plaza, and Gonzalez told the detective that “the driver told him, aggressively, that he knew he was in a crash and was going to go back,” court documents show.
Gonzalez later looked up the business on Google, recognized the driver in two photos posted by the company and used a fake name to post the one-star review, the Times reported.
When he was interviewed by a sheriff’s sergeant, Stall denied driving the truck at the time of the accident, the Times reported. He claimed he left his truck at the company site and took an Uber home that day.
Investigators said that Stall’s alibi was disputed by accounts from his co-workers, his mother and his daughter’s mother, the Post reported.
Stall was already on probation for fatally shooting a friend on Jan. 4, 2015, in the Tampa suburb of Brandon. According to WTSP-TV, Stall aimed a loaded .762 caliber assault rifle at Kadin Thomas Koehler, 23, and fatally shot him in the face, according to the television station.
Stall was charged with manslaughter and faced up to 30 years in prison, according to the newspaper. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years in prison, followed by 10 years of probation.
He was released from prison in May 2018 and started his tree service business, the Times reported.
Michael Maddux, an attorney for Stall who also represented him in 2015, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday evening, the Times reported.
Stall remains in the Hillsborough County Jail without bail, online booking records show. He is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 10 to be arraigned on his charges and a violation of probation charge, online court records show.