Thursday, June 8, 2017

Utah: Fatal hit-and-run victim trying to stop man who was abusing dog, police say

UTAH -- A 47-year-old pedestrian victim of a hit-and-run crash, was trying to stop the suspect from hurting a Chihuahua, police say.

It happened at the intersection of 3600 West 4100 South, Wednesday afternoon.

"The driver fled in a [2001-2005] black four-door Lexus that has a modified loud exhaust and a fin (rear spoiler, and the windshield will be shattered and caved in on the passenger side, due to the damage in the [murder]," said Sgt. Bryan Peterson

He added that the driver himself is a muscular Hispanic man with a buzz-style haircut in his late 20's or early 30's. The vehicle's front wheels are also believed to be different in appearance from the rear wheels (see photo).

Friends say Jeremy Harman died doing what he did so often -- standing up for those who can not themselves.

"He would do anything for an animal -- to save an animal, especially," said Amanda Martinez, a longtime friend.

According to witnesses, Hardman and his friend stopped when they reportedly spotted a stranger hurting a Chihuahua and asked him to stop.

"There was a conversation or confrontation of some kind... Whether they knew each other before that, it's unknown," Peterson said.

Police say it was after that confrontation that witnesses saw the suspect hop in his car, flip a U-turn, and slam into Hardman who was in the standing on the sidewalk (another news story says he was standing within the marked pedestrian crosswalk) and then flee.

Thursday, a small bouquet of flowers marked the place where Jeremy Hardman was killed.

Meanwhile, West Valley City Police announced they are investigating the case as a homicide -- and still searching for the suspect.

As the search continues for the suspect, friends are remembering the beautiful life lost.

"[Hardman was] just one of those guys that you always want to be around, you know?" Brent Martinez asked.  "It's pretty, pretty heartbreaking to see that something happened to a person like this, you know what I mean?  This guy was truly, truly one of the good guys," he said.

If you have any information on the suspect, please call West Valley City Police at (801) 840-4000.

(KTVX ABC Salt Lake City - June 8, 2017)

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