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Bicycle patrol officer killed by car in S.L.

Vehicle jumps curb after blowout; driver is jailed

SHARE Bicycle patrol officer killed by car in S.L.

A man is in jail and police officers are mourning the loss of a bicycle patrol officer who was struck and killed on a State Street sidewalk by a car that jumped the curb.

Killed was:

Michael J. Dunman, 30, Tooele.

Dunman leaves behind a wife, Sandi, and three daughters ages 5, 3 and 1. Acting Police Chief Arthur "Mac" Connole choked with tears as he announced one of his officers died Monday.

"Despite heroic efforts by Salt Lake firefighters, paramedics and the hospital staff here at LDS (Hospital), the officer was pronounced dead at 4:30 (p.m.)," Connole said.

Police later arrested Yocundo Cruz-Silva, 25, for investigation of negligent homicide/manslaughter, speeding, failing to appear in court and an immigration detainer, jail records indicate.

Cruz-Silva remained in the Salt Lake County Jail Tuesday morning.

Cruz-Silva was cited during a July 1998 traffic stop for three misdemeanor traffic offenses, including not having a valid driver's license. The citations were all cleared in 3rd District Court last June after copies of the original citations couldn't be located, court records indicate. Utah Highway Patrol spokesman Chris Kramer said Cruz-Silva was issued a driver's license in August 1999 and had maintained a clean driving record since.

The UHP is heading up an accident investigation team, and Kramer said initial indications show speed and busy traffic were contributing factors in the 4 p.m. accident near 1450 S. State.

Salt Lake Police Capt. Scott Atkinson said Dunman, a five-year veteran who worked bike patrol for about a year, probably never saw the southbound car coming as it swerved right onto the sidewalk, striking his bike from behind. Jerry Christensen, who was driving south behind the accident, said it appeared the car blew a front right tire and lost control.

"The driver locked up the brakes and whenever you do that with a blowout the vehicle will veer to the side the flat is on," said Christensen, who has driven a big rig for 28 years.

The brown sedan crossed at least one lane of traffic before going onto the sidewalk, leaving a downed street light, the bike and other wreckage in its wake. One of the bike's tires dislodged and came to rest against some shrubbery about 50 feet south of the crumpled frame.

Despite wearing his helmet, Dunman suffered massive head trauma and was transported by ambulance and a police escort to LDS Hospital where he was pronounced dead, Atkinson said.

The incident comes a month since Mayor Rocky Anderson declared Salt Lake officers would be cracking down on dangerous drivers in the city after a national report ranked the Salt Lake-Ogden area as the 12th most dangerous for pedestrians among the nation's 74 largest cities. Sunday, a 74-year-old man died after being struck downtown. Monday, a second bicycle cop, Nathan Swensen, who was racing to the scene when he heard of Dunman's accident over the radio, suffered a broken wrist and road rash after narrowly avoiding a crash with a vehicle that backed out in front of him, Atkinson said.

The mayor visited the hospital briefly Monday and spoke with Connole, but Atkinson couldn't comment on what the two discussed.

While Atkinson said the incident will remain on every officer's mind for some time, it probably won't alter safety protocol or affect daily operations because training or police procedure didn't seem to play a part in the incident.

E-MAIL: bsnyder@desnews.com