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Crash killing Milton bicyclist was accidental, officials say

November 8, 2018

A bike-riding burglary suspect who died after a June 23 crash with a pursuing police car was killed accidentally, officials say.

Richard M. Talbot, 32, of Milton was riding his bike southbound on Fisher Road near Route 9 about noon – the same time a Delaware State Police trooper was looking for a burglary suspect. Police said Talbot matched the description of the burglary suspect who had been recorded on video surveillance.

Sgt. Richard Bratz, spokesman for the Delaware State Police, previously said the trooper activated his emergency light and siren and verbally ordered Talbot to stop.

Talbot refused to stop and continued riding his bike on the roadway, which was under construction. The roadway transitioned from tightly compacted asphalt to loose medium-sized stone gravel with a 10-inch downward slope, said Julia Lawes, spokeswoman for the Department of Justice.

“A crash reconstructionist determined the bicycle slowed when it began traveling through the stone gravel while the SUV accelerated briefly due to the slight downward slope,” Lawes said.

The investigation determined the trooper depressed the police SUV's brakes but was unable to stop, causing the left front bumper of the SUV to strike the rear tire of the bicycle, said Lawes, who did not describe what happened after the police vehicle struck Talbot.

Talbot was taken to Beebe Healthcare where he was pronounced dead.

The trooper was placed on administrative leave following the crash but has returned to work.

Lawes said a Justice Department review of the evidence determined the crash was an accident, and no charges will be filed.

Lawes would not say whether police determined Talbot was the burglary suspect they were looking for. “No prosecution was possible to confirm or deny guilt because the defendant was deceased,” she said.