WEST VALLEY CITY — A man who was fatally struck in an intentional hit-and-run Wednesday was targeted because he had confronted another man over the way he was treating a dog, according to authorities.
The crash, which occurred at the intersection of 4100 South and 3600 West about 3:40 p.m., is being investigated as a homicide. Jeremy Hardman, 47, of West Valley City was killed in the crash.
Police say Hardman and a friend were arguing with the man shortly before the man made a U-turn and hit Hardman in a crosswalk. Hardman died at the scene.
Earlier, Hardman had confronted the man for "being rough with a dog," West Valley spokesman Sam Johnson said.
"It looks like it started where (Hardman) had approached the suspect about the way he was rough(ly) handling a dog," he said.
Johnson didn't have additional details about whose dog it was or where the dog was following the hit-and-run. It also wasn't clear whether Hardman's friend was also targeted. Other details, including whether Hardman and the attacker knew each other, were not available.
West Valley police described the man who intentionally hit Hardman as Hispanic, in his late 20s or early 30s, with a muscular build and brown hair in a buzz cut.
The man fled the scene in a black, four-dour Lexus sedan with a modified loud exhaust, rear spoiler and a front windshield that is caved in on the passenger side, according to police. The vehicle's front wheels are also believed to be different in appearance from the rear wheels.
The Humane Society of Utah issued a statement Thursday calling Hardman a hero.
“We extend our sincerest condolences to Hardman’s friends and family. He was a hero in the truest sense of the word for selflessly stopping to defend a helpless animal in need, and his murder is most tragic," Gene Baierschidt, director of the Humane Society, said.
Anyone with any information about the case is asked to call West Valley police at 801-840-4000.