Bond set for driver believed to have hit, killed 2 bicyclists

Henry Haigler III previously convicted of DUI in Alachua County

By Tarik Minor - Anchor, I-TEAM reporter, Steve Patrick - News4Jax digital managing editor

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - A 37-year-old Jacksonville man wanted in Saturday morning's hit-and-run crash that killed two bicyclists on Racetrack Road turned himself into deputies Wednesday, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office said.

The Sheriff's Office issued an arrest warrant late Monday for Henry Haigler III, who lives at the address where the 2016 Hyundai believed to have hit the cyclists was located Saturday night.

Sheriff's Office spokesman Chuck Mulligan said Haigler called detectives early Wednesday and said he wanted to turn himself in. They met with him at an arranged location in St. Augustine and he was taken to the St. Johns County Jail without incident.

Haigler was booked on two felony charges of hit-and-run and appeared before a judge Thursday where a mental health evaluation was requested as a condition of bond, which was set at $50,000. The judge noted Haigler made some statements indicating he might be suicidal.

Haigler was also ordered not to drive a vehicle without a valid driver's license.

According to court records, Haigler was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in 2003 in Alachua County. Court records show he pleaded no contest, was adjudicated guilty, was placed on probation until 2004 and completed 50 hours of community service and a substance abuse program. Haigler's license was suspended for six months.

WATCH: I-TEAM digs into hit-and-run suspect's background 

News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said it will be virtually impossible to determine whether Haigler could have been intoxicated at the time of Saturday's fatal accident. 

"Days have gone by. There’s no way to prove that he was under the influence of anything at that particular time, but what the prosecutor may use as a point of reference is that there was a prior incident if they’re allowed to introduce it," he said.

Authorities said the Hyundai struck and killed the bicyclists on Racetrack Road between Durbin Pavilion Parkway and U.S. Highway 1 near Bartram Springs Parkway just before 10 a.m. Saturday.

"Given the dynamics of this crash, that individual had to have known he had struck something or she had struck something,” Mulligan said Saturday.

Another motorist on Racetrack Road on Saturday morning who came upon the crash reported seeing a black sedan with heavy damage and a busted windshield swerving on the road.

On Wednesday, the Sheriff's Office released 911 calls that witnesses placed moments after the hit-and-run.

Caller: "They were on bicycles, two bicycles. There was a midsized sedan. But I don't see a vehicle. I think it pulled over."
Operator: "The vehicle is gone?"
Caller: "I can't see them. It's around a curve. Possibly, yes, ma'am. It's around a turn. It's hard to tell."

UNCUT: Audio of 911 calls made after deadly hit-and-run crash
(Warning: The audio contains graphic language, details and descriptions that listeners may find disturbing.)

Surveillance video from the entry of Haigler's Bartram Park neighborhood -- less than three miles from the crash -- shows a Hyundai Azera driven by someone matching his description entering the community about 10 a.m.

No one was at Haigler's home when detectives initially tried to question him. They entered with a search warrant and found the vehicle in the garage with major front-end damage and a damaged windshield. According to the arrest affidavit, biological material and hair were found on the windshield.

"Law enforcement officials have forensic ways of determining who was the driver of a certain vehicle," Jefferson said.

But Jefferson said investigators' work is far from over.

"Even though they have all this compelling evidence right now -- such as the damage to the car, an eyewitness, DNA hair fiber evidence -- they're still working the case. They’re still investigating the case," he said. 

According to the report, Haigler's wife told investigators that he returned home about 10:30 a.m. Saturday and went to bed. She said when she asked him what was going on, "he told her not to worry about it and not to look in their garage."

Haigler's LinkedIn page shows him as an account executive for an area bank with a degree from the University of Florida. 

The victims were identified but both families have invoked Marsy's Law, which allows them to keep their names confidential. The arrest report identifies them only as women.

Heading westbound on Racetrack Road, which is the direction the car and bicyclists were traveling, there’s a sign that reads bicycles may use a full lane on the roadway in which the speed limit is 45 mph.

The relatively quick identification of the driver in Saturday's deaths is unusual in hit-and-run investigations. From 2011 to 2017, six hit-and-run cases in St. Johns County remain unsolved. 

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