LEE COUNTY, Fla. - The woman who hit and killed a bicyclist on the Sanibel Causeway last year is in jail tonight. Theresa Shirley was not charged in the death of Tracey Kleinpell back in May of last year. But now, she's charged with obtaining thousands of pills illegally and during the time when Kleinpell was killed.
May 7, 2011, Tracey Kleinpell and her husband were riding bikes across the Sanibel Causeway when Theresa Shirley struck Tracey. The impact threw her off the bridge. FHP learned Shirley fell asleep at the wheel.
May of this year, the State Attorney's Office announced it would not file criminal charges. Instead, Shirley was cited for not maintaining her lane. Emotions flared when both sides were present in the courtroom.
Shirley had to pay a fine, take a driving course, and do community service. Her license was also suspended for six months. But the investigation was not over. Troopers found Oxycodone pills in Shirley's truck the day of the incident. FDLE helped determine the pills were illegally obtained, more than 10,000 of them, along with other controlled substances from doctors in Lee and Broward Counties.
According to investigators, Shirley got these pills over the course of 17 months, before and after Tracey's death. The news of Shirley's arrest came as a relief to Kleinpell's family.
"I have no words to tell you," Kleinpell's sister Tina Andrews said. "I started to cry. It's Tracey's gift to southern Florida because she's off the road now and she can't hurt another family."
"Im glad to see something is being done with this woman to get her off the streets because she is definitely a hazard to a lot of people," Kleinpell's father George Henault said.
We reached out to Theresa Shirley's husband as well as co-workers, but have not yet gotten a response. Shirley is charged with 12 counts of Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud, Withholding Information from a Practitioner, which is a Third-Degree Felony.