Cellphone data pins truck owner accused in deadly hit-and-run

Reporter: Corey Lazar
Published: Updated:

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Adam Costello, who is facing charges for leaving 18-year-old Adam King in a hit-and-run wreck that he caused, was near the scene of the crash and the last person to drive his truck, according to cellphone data and fingerprint evidence released Tuesday.

He also would never let anyone borrow his truck, a white 2015 Toyota Tundra, nor had anyone else driven it, multiple people noted to police.

adam king
Adam King, 18

Costello’s arrest warrant, released Tuesday, rebut claims from both Costello and his longtime friend, Dan Sinclair, who recently lost a bid for Lee County Supervisor of Elections.

Scott Moorey, Costello’s attorney, said in a written statement on June 22 that his client was not involved in the deadly hit-and-run. That was three days after King was struck while riding his bicycle near the intersection of Colonial Boulevard and Summerlin Road, just ahead of the Midpoint Bridge.

“My client was not driving or in the vehicle at the time of the incident,” Moorey wrote.

Drinks then…

But the Florida Department of Law Enforcement analyzed Costello’s cellphone data, which pins his location near the wreck around the time his car struck King.

Sinclair told police that he and Costello returned to his home after a day of drinking at Twin Peaks, the Blue Sushis on McGregor Boulevard and downtown Fort Myers, Cabos, Ford’s Garage, Red Bones and finally the Wing House. Surveillance video shows the pair leaving Wing House at 10:38 p.m. on July 19.

They drove in his red Audi convertible all day, Sinclair told police. But Sinclair also said he did not know in which car Costello left.

Records show Costello made an 8-minute call that was pinged at 10:53 p.m. on July 19 to a cell tower near Plantation Road, which is the major street near Sinclair’s home on 6840 Dabney St. The call ended at 11:01 p.m. and pinged a tower near Colonial Boulevard and Summerlin Road — the reported location of King’s death, according to FDLE.

A source with the Fort Myers Police Department said back in July that Sinclair was not a suspect in the fatal hit-and-run, which the former candidate reiterated.

“I want to state, for the record, that I was not present when this tragedy occurred but will offer whatever assistance I can during the investigation of this horrific event and I truly hope that justice is served,” Sinclair said on June 30.

FDLE’s analysis of Sinclair’s phone continuously pinged his location near his home at the time of King’s death and between 10:46 p.m on July 19 and the next morning.

Costello’s truck

But the investigation into the June 19 hit-and-run that led to King’s tragic death do not support Costello’s claim, well documented in his arrest warrant, that his car was stolen prior to Kings’s death.

First, Costello’s palm print was found on the gearshift of the Toyota.; no other prints were found, according to Costello’s arrest warrant. And second, FMPD did not receive any stolen vehicle reports for his truck before nor after the hit-and-run.

The mud flap and outside mirror pieces of Adam Costello's truck were collected near scene of a fatal hit-and-run. The vehicle was later impounded for evidence.
The mud flap and outside mirror pieces of Adam Costello’s truck were collected near scene of a fatal hit-and-run. The vehicle was later impounded for evidence.

Four interviews from the investigation further reveal that many people felt Costello would never let someone borrow his car nor had they ever seen anyone else behind the wheel, which challenge Sinclair’s claims that Costello often let people borrow his truck. A car repairman said Costello had called the white Toyota truck “his baby.” He told police that when he posted that information to his Facebook page, he got a threatening call from a blocked number.

Costello was swerving down Colonial Boulevard and nearly hit another driver, a witness told police, and then when he tried correct his driving, he struck King.

Two witnesses pulled over in their cars to help King, but police found his body “lifeless” in the median next to his royal blue motorcycle at 11:01 p.m., according to Costello’s arrest warrant. One of the witnesses was Timothy Bermal, who said he was driving next to King and called 9-1-1.

“With as loud at that bike was — I don’t care what you were doing, you could have been texting, could have been radio up loud — there was no mistaking that he was next to that truck,” Bermal said about King’s motorcycle.

But after Costello’s white truck hit King, the driver never came to a complete stop.

“He did slow down. He did almost come to a stop after the accident and that is just heinous. It almost appeared like he was looking in the rear view mirror, he saw what happened and then he continued down the road,” Bermal said.

Alleged tampering

Police believe Costello was driving the car that night. He is accused of a first-degree felony for leaving the scene of a deadly crash. He is also accused of a third-degree felony for tampering with physical evidence.

He is facing the second charge for destroying, hiding or removing data from his cellphone and Facebook page while knowing he was being investigated.

Costello specifically told an officer who was trying to seize the cellphone he had the night King was killed that he had lost it. He also told police that the two TrackFones on his passenger seat during a June 29 traffic stop were not his, though evidence suggests otherwise.

According to FMPD’s investigation, there were 11 calls made to Sinclair between June 24 and June 28, Google searches for “circumstantial evidence” and “driver charged with hit-a” (which Google could auto complete) and a download about red light camera convictions on at least one of the phones.

Sinclair’s involvement

Sinclair has not been charged in connection to the fatal hit-and-run. But he has been an outspoken supporter of his friend Costello.

“Everything I’ve seen has shown me it’s not him. Until they show me it was him, I don’t believe it,” Sinclair said, adding: “If I found out it was Adam [Costello], I’d drag him down to the police station myself.”

FMPD said Costello barricaded himself in his home the afternoon of his arrest. Costello’s attorney denies that, saying his client turned himself in — though never mentioning whether Sinclair assisted.

There was another clash of accounts regarding the hit-and-run investigation. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office, which issued a search warrant to Sinclair in July, allege that he was hiding in the home when deputies were forced to break in. Sinclair said there was a misunderstanding at the door while he spoke with his lawyer.

Sinclair also claimed at that time that he was cooperating with the investigation, but Costello’s arrest warrant notes several questionable instances.

According to police records, Sinclair initially refused to provide a statement. An officer visited his home on June 22 and called him on June 23. That officer received a letter from Sinclair’s attorney on June 24 saying that Sinclair was declining to comment on the investigation.

Sinclair also reportedly told cyber expert David Levin’s wife four days after the deadly crash that telling her who was driving Costello’s truck “would be incriminating,” according to Costello’s arrest warrant. Levin, who pleaded guilty to hacking into the Lee County elections website, told police Sinclair told him not to cooperate because it didn’t help in his case.

When his home was raided, Sinclair allegedly told deputies that his surveillance system had not worked for more than a year. But deputies noted finding a “missing” digital video recorder not a “non-functioning one.”

Sinclair reportedly gave footage to Costello. His surveillance cameras would have captured the car Costello was driving the night King was killed.

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