October 18, 2021

Groton man faces charges in death of cyclist

Police say driver was intoxicated, fled scene of fatal collision Sunday

GROTON — A Groton man was charged Monday with vehicular manslaughter after police said he struck a bicyclist then fled the scene Sunday evening.

Jeffrey C. Skinner, 43, of Groton was near Lick Street and Stevens Road about 6:36 p.m. Sunday when he struck a bicycle ridden by Jerrie Gavalchin, 64, of Groton, Tompkins County sheriff’s deputies said. Skinner fled north on Lick Street, with the bicycle entangled with his front bumper.

Witnesses called emergency dispatchers to identify the red Nissan pickup truck and update its location. Deputies and state troopers found Skinner and the truck, with the bicycle still attached, on Wood Road in Groton.

Deputies said they found Skinner intoxicated and arrested him.

Groton Ambulance took Gavalchin to Guthrie Cortland Medical Center in Cortland, where she died, deputies said.

Skinner was charged with first-degree vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated, felonies; and leaving the scene of a personal injury motor vehicle accident, a misdemeanor.

Skinner had a drinking-related driving conviction within the past 10 years, making the DWI a felony.

Skinner was arraigned and released under the supervision of the Tompkins County Probation Department pending a future court appearance.

State police, Groton police and the Groton Fire Department assisted deputies.