COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department said Thursday it finished an investigation into why it took officers so long to identify human remains along I-70 back in October.
On Oct. 26, a truck struck 36-year-old Ennis Patrick of Columbia. Investigators later learned Patrick was riding his bicycle on the side of the road.
The department concluded Thursday it was likely Patrick was riding his bicycle on the pavement of westbound I-70 when the truck struck him. The department said there was no reason to suspect the driver committed a crime.
Around noon that Saturday, the Columbia Police Department received a complaint about a large amount of blood on the roadway and clothing on the side near the 130 mile marker of I-70 west near the Lake of the Woods exit.
CPD received another complaint through the Missouri State Highway Patrol saying there were bloody clothes, a blanket and a shoe on the side of the road between the mile markers 130 and 131.
After investigating, officers determined around 12:45 p.m. that a pedestrian had been struck by a motor vehicle on the outside shoulder while riding a bicycle.
Before this discovery, the department said it received a number of calls in the early morning hours about the incident, but callers reported a scene consistent with a deer versus vehicle accident.
The department said just before 4 a.m., it received a complaint from the Missouri State Highway Patrol relating to a dead deer in the roadway before the 128 mile marker. The complainant said the driver hit something but did not know what it was.
The department said a trucker had called and reported hitting something in the roadway. CPD said officers then drove through the area and did not perceive the area to be a hazard and said it appeared to be a deer versus vehicle accident.
The department said it responds to multiple deer accidents each year and follows a protocol. Officers determine whether the accident needs to be documented, determine if the animal is still alive and needs attention and determine whether the deceased animal is causing a traffic hazard and will need to be moved off of the roadway. If officers find no hazard exists, they are not required to investigate further.
Until human remains were found, the department said it investigated the incident as if it was a deer versus vehicle accident.
The department said it acknowledges the Patrick family's loss.