A Dunnellon man with a history of traffic infractions was arrested Friday in connection with the death of a bicyclist nearly one year ago.
Robert Franklyn Crabb, 35, is charged with leaving the scene of a fatal crash and tampering with evidence, according to a Florida Highway Patrol arrest report.
Crabb is accused of driving a Toyota pickup the evening of Feb. 8, 2020, that struck 37-year-old Michael Todd Gilkerson as he rode his bicycle west on County Road 488, also known as Dunnellon Road.
Crabb was dining with an off-duty Citrus County Sheriff’s deputy shortly before the crash occurred. The deputy’s name was redacted in the report by the sheriff’s office.
The deputy told FHP that Crabb was drinking beer, but he didn’t think Crabb was impaired. They both left a Dunnellon restaurant at the same time in separate vehicles with plans to meet up at the deputy’s home.
The deputy said he was driving on Dunnellon Road when he saw the bicyclist riding west on the outside portion of the westbound travel lane. He called Crabb to warn him of a bicycle riding along the road without lights, the report states.
According to the report, the deputy’s call occurred at 7:43 p.m. — the exact time of the crash as recorded by video surveillance cameras from a nearby business.
The deputy said he learned on social media the next morning, Feb. 9, that there had been a fatality on Dunnellon Road the night before. He said Crabb did not come to his house after dinner as was planned.
He went to Crabb’s house, where Crabb said he struck a tree on Dunnellon Road, but didn’t know where.
After Crabb borrowed the deputy’s vehicle to drive to an auto parts store, the deputy called an officer who was on the scene assisting in the fatality investigation to tell him he thought Crabb may be involved, the report states.
Crabb’s arrest report accuses him of purposely crashing his car after the hit-and-run to cover up the damage caused when he struck the bicycle.
“When Robert Franklyn Crabb was confronted with the idea that he had possibly been in a second crash damaging the exact front location where the vehicle would have struck the bicyclist and the idea he may have intentionally attempted to cover up the damage created during the hit and run crash, he denied both,” the report states.
Gilkerson's body was discovered by a woman and her daughter around 7:15 a.m. Feb. 9, nearly 12 hours after the crash.
Crabb’s criminal history shows prior felony and misdemeanor cases involving leaving the scene of an accident.
In 2016, he was arrested on a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident where there were injuries. According to court records, he entered a pre-trial intervention program and the charge was dropped.
In 2018, Crabb was again charged with leaving the scene of an accident, a misdemeanor. He pleaded no contest, the judge withheld adjudication, and Crabb was fined, court records show.
Crabb is currently on probation for a June 2020 felony charge of fleeing a law enforcement officer on a boat. Reports said an officer stopped him for speeding a Jet Ski through a manatee zone, and Crabb took off speeding through King’s Bay until the officer found him onshore and arrested him.
He pleaded no contest, the judge withheld adjudication, and Crabb was given two years probation and ordered to write a letter of apology to the officer.
Crabb was jailed Friday on $5,000 bond.