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Suspected drunken driver arrested in relay runner’s death

Henderson police identify runner as 33-year-old Jeremy Kunz

Image

Courtesy Ragnar Relay Series

Jeremy Kunz and his wife, Melinda, at the Ragnar Relay Las Vegas starting line.

Updated Monday, Oct. 12, 2009 | 5:25 p.m.

Approximate area of crash

Henderson police have arrested a suspected drunken driver in connection with the death of a relay runner he allegedly struck Saturday morning.

The Clark County Coroner's Office on Monday identified the victim as 33-year-old Jeremy Kunz of Kamas, Utah.

Kunz died of several blunt force traumatic injuries during an automobile-pedestrian collision, the coroner's office said. The death was officially ruled an accident.

Ragnar Relay Las Vegas officials said the runner was struck about 4:35 a.m. Saturday near a relay exchange near Stephanie Street and Horizon Ridge Parkway.

Henderson Police said 25-year-old Joshua Salayich of Henderson was allegedly driving a Nissan eastbound on Horizon Ridge Parkway near Stephanie Street when he lost control of the car, police spokesman Keith Paul said. The car went onto the shoulder of the road and struck Kunz, police said.

Salayich, who suffered minor injuries, is accused of running from the car after striking Kunz, police said. He was caught by officers about half a mile from the collision scene, Paul said.

Salayich was booked into the Henderson jail on charges of driving under the influence with death, leaving the scene of an accident and resisting an officer, Paul said.

Speed and alcohol are suspected as factors in the crash, Paul said. The investigation is continuing.

Kunz was one of about 2,400 people taking part in the 180-mile run from Valley of Fire State Park to Red Rock Resort. His wife, Melinda, also participated in the run.

"Our deepest sympathy goes out to the runner's family," Dan Hill, co-founder of the Ragnar Relay Series, said in a statement. "We appreciate the rapid response from Las Vegas authorities and ask that all our runners keep the family in their thoughts and prayers."

The Las Vegas Relay was Kunz's third Ragnar Relay. He had participated with his family in two Ragnar Wasatch Back relays in Utah before the Las Vegas event.

He was a member of Team Wanabees, which was made up of extended family members, the organizers said.

A family friend is setting up a fund for the family, including Kunz's three children. Until then, those interested in donating can contact the Ragnar Relay Series by e-mail at [email protected] with the word "donate" in the subject line.

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