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As midnight approached one Friday night last month, Tiffany Fletcher held on to her boyfriend Kirk Adams as he steered his Yamaha motorcycle down U.S. 301.
They were headed to C.J.’s Saloon in Riverview to shoot pool and were nearly there when Fletcher saw a white pickup suddenly turn into their path.
“The last thing I saw before I shut my eyes was the side of the truck,” Fletcher, 38, recalled.
She remembers Adams braking and swerving in a futile attempt to avoid a collision. Then Fletcher was on the ground, unable to move. She lost consciousness and woke up in a hospital bed next to Adams, 59, who was screaming her name. He died days later.
The pickup driver didn’t stop. Hillsborough detectives launched an investigation to track down the person behind the wheel.
An unlikely piece of evidence helped them make an arrest: a one-star business review on Google.
The driver, it turned out, was already on probation for a careless act that killed a friend eight years earlier. He now faces charges that could send him back to prison for decades.
A fatal shot
Four days into 2015, Hillsborough deputies responded to a shooting call at a home in Brandon.
Chad Stall, then 21, was hanging out with longtime friend Kadin Koehler that January morning when he picked up a rifle, pointed it at Koehler and pulled the trigger, according to court records.
A round hit Koehler, 23, in the face, killing him.
Stall told deputies he saw bullets in the magazine before it was loaded into the rifle but he aimed the gun at Koehler and pulled the trigger anyway. He told investigators he didn’t think the rifle would discharge.
Stall was charged with manslaughter and faced up to 30 years in prison. He was already on probation for previous charges including grand theft and burglary.
Sentencing guidelines called for a minimum prison sentence of 14 years. As part of an agreement with prosecutors, Stall pleaded guilty and a judge sentenced him to four years in prison followed by a decade of probation. He was released in May 2018, moved back to Hillsborough County and started a tree service business.
Stall got in trouble again last year when he was arrested on a battery charge for punching a man multiple times in a Lakeland Checkers, court records show. Stall denied hitting the man and said he went to the Checkers because his girlfriend called and said the man was insulting her. A judge sentenced him to 30 days of work release. Stall’s probation officer also recommended his probation for the manslaughter case be revoked and he be sentenced to “a period of incarceration.”
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Instead, a judge instead ordered him to complete anger management treatment and continued his probation.
Friends become a couple, then a crash
David Kirk Adams, who went by his middle name, and Tiffany Fletcher had been neighbors in Riverview. Then Adams, who worked as a carpenter, moved to Tennessee, where the father of four spent much of his life raising a family.
Adams returned to Hillsborough about 10 years ago and he and Fletcher started hanging out again about five years later.
“Anytime I needed something, he was always there,” Fletcher said. “He was always in a good mood, trying to make someone laugh.”
Their romance, she said, “just came out of nowhere,” and they started dating last year.
“There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t have done for me,” she said.
When Fletcher regained consciousness in Tampa General Hospital after the June 9 crash, Adams was in a bed next to her.
“He was screaming, ‘Please help me, Tiffany,’” recalled Fletcher, who was treated for a head wound and a leg broken in two places.
It was the last time she saw him alive.
Kalyn Adams, Adams’ daughter, said the family initially thought he would survive. But his condition worsened and doctors advised family to get to the hospital. Kalyn and two of her brothers, Dylan and Derik, traveled from Tennessee.
By then, their “big, strong” dad was on life support, Kalyn said. On the Tuesday after the crash, doctors amputated part of his leg.
The next day, friends and family gathered in Adams’ hospital room, holding his hand, talking to him and praying. They swapped stories, laughing and wiping tears. The family had made many fond memories camping, fishing and riding four-wheelers in Florida and the Smoky Mountains. His grandchildren called him “Fuzzy” because of his goatee. But he hadn’t gotten the chance to meet all nine of them. He was proud of his kids, Kalyn said.
That night, his kids at his bedside, Adams’ heart stopped.
“Ran like a coward”
Hillsborough County sheriff’s detectives found surveillance video from the nearby Remington Feed store that showed the pickup driver making a U-turn at Pine Avenue to head south on 301, according to an arrest report. Adams’ motorcycle comes into view and strikes the truck in the area of the rear passenger-side door. The pickup continues south.
Other video from businesses in the area showed what appeared to be the same pickup with a business name on the tailgate: Arbor Pros.
A detective looked up the business on Google and found an online business card for Arbor Pros Tree Service with Chad Stall’s name on it. Stall is also listed in state records as the company’s registered agent, and had received a traffic citation while driving a white 2010 Ford F-250 pickup registered to his mother, who lives in Dover.
The detective also found a one-star Google review for Arbor Pros, posted a week earlier by an “Alex Right,” that said the owner or the owner’s son was in a crash on U.S. 301 involving a couple on a motorcycle.
“The thing is he flew the scene and all I got was his company name on his white truck,” the review said.
The driver, the reviewer said, “ran like a coward.”
“Putting this here in case he didn’t turn himself in yet,” the review said.
A sheriff’s sergeant went to Stall’s mother’s home and while he was there, Stall pulled up in the Ford pickup. Stall denied that he was driving the truck at the time of the crash and said one of his employees told him the truck was struck while parked at a work site, the affidavit states.
Stall claimed that he was at a job site on June 9 for about five hours, then took an Uber home and left the truck at the site. He said he was at his home in Riverview from about 3 p.m. that day until the next morning. Stall said his mother then gave him a ride back to her house.
When the detective asked Stall to provide calls or text messages to back up his story, Stall became “uncooperative,” according to the affidavit.
Stall’s mother told a detective she didn’t pick up her son that day. Stall’s employees denied telling him that the truck had been struck at a worksite. One employee said Stall told him he’d been involved in a “fender bender.”
On July 6, a detective interviewed Ismael Gonzalez, the man who posted the Google review.
Gonzalez, 40, told the detective that after he saw the crash, he followed the pickup driver, honking his horn and flashing his lights. When the driver slowed, Gonzalez pulled alongside and shouted that he’d hit a motorcycle and needed to go back.
Gonzalez said the man in the truck told him he would go back, then pulled into the parking lot of a business plaza. When Gonzalez followed, the driver got out and walked toward Gonzalez’s car. Gonzalez said he told the man that “he needs to go back and do the right thing.”
“He said the driver told him, aggressively, that he knew he was in a crash and was going to go back,” the affidavit said.
Gonzalez said he left because the driver was making him nervous. Gonzalez looked up the business on Google, recognized the driver in two photos posted by the company and used a fictitious name to post the review.
Gonzalez showed the detective the two photos and identified the man who was driving the pickup. It was Stall.
It’s unclear how investigators determined Gonzalez was the person who left the review, which does not appear to be online anymore. A sheriff’s office spokesperson declined to comment, citing an active investigation. Efforts to reach Gonzalez for this story were unsuccessful.
Deputies arrested Stall on July 7 on charges of leaving the scene of a crash involving death, leaving the scene of a crash involving serious injury and providing false information to law enforcement. A few weeks later, the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office filed notice to press the first two charges, which carry a combined maximum prison sentence of 45 years, and dropped the third.
Stall is being held without bail in the Hillsborough County Jail. His arraignment for the new charges and a violation of probation hearing for the manslaughter case are set for Aug. 10. His probation officer on the manslaughter case has recommended that the court revoke his probation and sentence him to 18 years in prison followed by 20 years of probation.
Tampa attorney Michael Maddux, who represented Stall in the manslaughter case and is representing him in the new case, declined to comment for this story.
Fletcher questions whether justice was served in Stall’s manslaughter case. She hopes it will be in hers.
“I would like for him to spend time in prison and really think about what he’s done,” she said.
Fletcher and Kalyn Adams said they’re grateful to Gonzalez for helping investigators make an arrest. Fighting tears, Kalyn Adams said she’d like to thank him with a handshake, maybe a hug.
“Anybody with a good heart, I hope, would do the same thing he did,” she said.