Scott County

Police testimony reveals new details about alleged drunken driver who hit Lexington bicyclist in Georgetown

Odilon Paz-Salvador's pickup truck just after Lexington lawyer and bicyclist Mark Hinkel was taken off the bed cover. Hinkel's helmet is sitting on the right side of the bed. Photo by Justin Byall
Odilon Paz-Salvador's pickup truck just after Lexington lawyer and bicyclist Mark Hinkel was taken off the bed cover. Hinkel's helmet is sitting on the right side of the bed. Photo by Justin Byall

Officer Robert Tackett saw blood pouring off the back of the truck, hitting the rear bumper, when he found Lexington lawyer and bicyclist Mark Hinkel on May 23 on a cover of the bed of Odilon Paz-Salvador's pickup.

Paz-Salvador, 29, who is from Mexico, allegedly was driving drunk and struck Hinkel, 57, during the Horsey Hundred cycling event in Scott County. Paz-Salvador drove 3 miles after Hinkel landed on the truck bed cover before Georgetown police stopped him, authorities said.

Paz-Salvador told Tackett he did not realize Hinkel was still on his truck.

Tackett was the first witness who spoke Tuesday at Paz-Salvador's preliminary hearing in Scott County.

He was in Georgetown Estates, off of Lisle Road, investigating an unrelated incident when he heard the call come over the radio that a subject driving a black truck had hit a group of bicyclists and fled the scene.

Within a matter of seconds, Tackett said he was passing the oncoming black truck, which had a "very large hole in the front windshield and visible body damage."

Tackett tried to signal the vehicle to stop, but the driver accelerated, Tackett said. Eventually, after several hundred yards, the driver slowed to a stop on Reno Drive.

Hinkel, who was wearing reflective clothing, was lying on his stomach on the bed cover with his head near the cab of the truck, facing the passenger side, Tackett said. He had severe leg injuries, Tackett said.

Hinkel's breathing was very labored, Tackett said. "His eyes were open, and I tried to communicate with him." After no response, Tackett encouraged him to just keep breathing.

After paramedics arrived and the scene was secured, Tackett turned his attention back to Paz-Salvador.

Although Tackett did not smell any alcohol coming from the truck, he said there was a strong odor of alcohol coming from Paz-Salvador.

"There was a Bud Light can sitting in the cup holder that was still cool to the touch," Tackett said. The can was unopened, and there was also a cardboard case of beer open behind the passenger seat, Tackett said.

Paz-Salvador initially told Tackett he had drunk four beers in a two-hour period. He later said he had drunk six beers and smoked marijuana between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Paz-Salvador also told officers that he had nine previous DUIs, Tackett said. Tackett was unable to verify some of those charges.

Paz-Salvador became very uncooperative at the hospital, Tackett testified.

"He refused to sign or initial anything the entire time I was in contact with him," Tackett said.

Tackett said Paz-Salvador kept repeating, "This is not in Spanish, I'm not listening, I want to talk to Amy, I knew he was talking about Amy Duncliffe, an attorney here in town."

In general conversation, though, Paz-Salvador was able to communicate with Tackett and another officer and offered no indication that he could not understand them, Tackett said.

Judge Mary Jane Phelps sent the case to the grand jury for review, having found probable cause on all charges.

Phelps said it was very fortunate that the incident was not worse since various bicycle races were going on that day.

Georgetown police officer Nicholas Lowdal, the second witness at the hearing, said he charged Paz-Salvador with murder due to his extreme indifference to human life.

Lowdal also charged Paz-Salvador with leaving the scene of a fatal accident and failure to render aid as well as two charges of wanton endangerment because he put two other bicyclists in danger.

Tackett charged Paz-Salvador with fleeing and evading police. He also charged Paz-Salvador with a third aggravated DUI, since Paz-Salvador had two previous DUI convictions in the past five years. So far, Herald-Leader reporters have been able to find court records on three prior DUI charges, making this his fourth.

Phelps left Paz-Salvador's bond at $100,000 because of his prior record and his flight risk.

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