Justice was served in a case involving Joshua Vincent Salayich, who pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol when he hit and killed Jeremy Kunz in the middle of relay race in October of 2009. Salayich wept as he pleaded for leniency from Clark County District Court Judge David Barker, but he did not get leniency as he was sentenced to seven to 20 years in state prison.
Video Courtesy of KSL.com.
“Jeremy’s death was entirely avoidable,” said Melina Kunz, the wife of Jeremy Kunz. “My children will not be able to feel their daddy’s arms around them,” Melinda said. “I had to explain to them back in October what drunk driving was, and that was hard. How do you explain that to a 7- and a 5- and a 2-year-old? It’s impossible.”
Kunz was running in a stage of a 180-mile Ragnar Relay run from Valley of Fire State Park to the Red Rock Resort when he was hit and killed on October 10, 2009 in Henderson. Another runner told police that Kunz attempted to jump out of the way of the speeding 2005 Nissan Altima but it hit Kunz head-on at around 4:30 a.m. The car rolled over in a plume of dust in a desert lot and came to rest on its wheels before the driver got out, gathered some things from his car, and walked away. He asked witnesses not to call the police. Reports provided by KSL news also state that Salayich resisted the officers who arrested him, denied he was the driver, and was in possession of marijuana when he crashed. His blood-alcohol level was .26 percent after the crash, more than three times the legal limit.
Clearly there is nothing that can make the situation right, but I’m glad to see this man was held accountable for his poor decision. The sentence is slightly harsher than the 6 to 20 years recommended by state officials. His choice to get in the car and drive that day forever changed the life of not just the man he killed but also Mr. Kunz’s young family. I offer them my sincerest condolences for their tragic loss.
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