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Driver of truck arrested in hit-and-run that killed police officer

UPDATED: Wed., July 25, 2012, 6:13 p.m.

Spokane police officer Kurt P. Henson is shown in this 2006 file photo. (Spokane Police Department)
Spokane police officer Kurt P. Henson is shown in this 2006 file photo. (Spokane Police Department)

Officers in the Spokane Police Department were saddened Wednesday by the death of a fellow officer who was killed in a hit-and-run motorcycle crash.

Kurt P. Henson, 47, of Post Falls, died Tuesday at the scene of the 10:20 p.m. crash near Clark Fork on Highway 200.

Henson and a passenger were thrown from the motorcycle Henson was driving after he struck an abrupt edge in a construction zone. They were hit by a 2001 Dodge 1500 pickup, which fled the scene.

Idaho State Police said Wednesday afternoon that the driver of the blue pickup, Brianna Knapp, was located and arrested for leaving the scene of a fatal crash.

At a noon news conference in front of the Public Safety Building Wednesday, Interim Police Chief Scott Stephens said, “it’s really a terrible day for the Spokane Police Department.

“The officer was very well-liked and very well-respected here in the police department,” Stephens said. “His loss will be a tremendous loss, not only to this department, but to his family, to his friends and to this community that he chose to serve.

“I know I speak for all the officers when I say he will be terribly missed.”

Henson, who was described as an avid and experienced motorcyclist, joined the SPD after leaving the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department in 2000 and worked with the motorcycle unit from 2002 to 2005. Most recently, he worked on overnight patrol and instructed officers at the department’s Emergency Vehicle Operations Course.

Henson was riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle with 43-year-old Kimberly Lenox of Post Falls as his passenger.

“For someone to have run over a human being and to not stop to try to render aid seems unconscionable to me,” Stephens said. “So there’s a great deal of anger for me as well.”

Henson was not wearing a helmet. An ISP news release does not indicate whether Lenox was wearing a helmet.

Henson died at the scene. Lenox was taken to Bonner General Hospital where she was treated and released, hospital officials said.

ISP currently is looking for a woman who was driving a small, two-door black car. The driver, which ISP described in a news release as a “good Samaritan,” picked up Knapp, the driver of the pickup, on Highway 200 near milepost 53.

“We want to talk with the driver of the small black car and any other person who drove through the crash scene shortly after 10:30 p.m.,” ISP said in the release. Contact ISP with information at (208) 209-8730.