UPDATE: The Lexus has been located and was found on a residential street in Taylorsville. No one was in the auto. Police continue to search for the driver. Anyone with information is asked to call authorities.
On Wednesday, a Utah man was killed in a hit-and-run incident after he confronted a driver for abusing a tiny dog. Police are searching for the driver of a black Lexus who is suspected of killing Jeremy Hardman on Wednesday, after the victim confronted the man while stopped at an intersection.
According to KslNews, theWest Valley City police stated the crash, which occurred at the intersection of 4100 South and 3600 West is being investigated as a homicide. Hardman had been in a car with his co-worker, Jason Estes, when the men pulled over and started arguing with the suspect about abusing a small dog. After the confrontation, as the men headed back to their vehicle, Hardman hesitated and said he dropped something. At the same time, the suspect entered into his vehicle and drove back towards the intersection striking Hardman with his vehicle inside of the crosswalk. Eyewitnesses stated it was an intentional act, and the suspect had turned around deliberately to strike Hardman with his vehicle.
Described as a kind and loving man, Hardman was especially known for his love of dogs:
“Just the biggest dog lover I’ve ever known and probably the biggest dog lover any of us have ever known,” Hardman’s best friend Brandon Beckstead told Fox News. “It’s just fitting that he passed away saving a dog, trying to save a dog, doing whatever he could to help with that dog.”
The Humane Society of Utah issued a statement on Thursday also 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,” stated Gene Baierschidt, director of the Humane Society.
There have been no details about whose dog it was or where the dog was after 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 have not been disclosed.
Police are asking for the public’s help locating the suspect described as white or Hispanic, aged to be in his late 20s or early 30s with a buzz-style haircut. The car is a Lexus with four doors and a spoiler with temporary plates, The windshield on the passenger side of the vehicle is also shattered. The front and rear wheels look different. Anyone with information is asked to call the West Valley City Police Dispatch at 801.840.4000.
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(Photos of hit-and-run victim via screenshots from Fox News, West Valley City Police Dispatch and KslNews)
Rescued pup reunites with firefighter who saved her – read the heartwarming story here.