Man Receives Prison Time for DUI in Utah Runner’s Death

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.


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“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.

The Kramer Law Group does not currently represent any of the parties referenced in the article at the time it was written. We have cited and linked to the source of our information. If you were involved in the above incident, or one like it, and have questions about your rights and possible remedies, you may call us or another reputable Utah personal injury law firm. Do not act based on the above information without getting a consultation. The best personal injury attorneys will offer a free consultation. We offer a free and confidential consultation to those (and their family members) not substantially at fault in causing their accident. The information and opinions expressed above are provided as a public service and should not be used in place of legal advice from a qualified Utah personal injury attorney.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-666-3959 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah car accident attorney.