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Deputy investigated for fatal bike crash will keep job

Deputy Joseph Bodman given warning for violating department policies

The Spokane County sheriff’s deputy who sped through Spokane Valley last year without his lights or sirens activated, narrowly missing a teenage bicyclist, was given a written reprimand for violating department policies and will keep his job, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Deputy Joseph Bodman was issued the warning following multiple investigations into the May 2014 incident, in which Bodman sped past 15-year-old Ryan Holyk, who crashed his bicycle and died after falling on his head at the intersection of East Sprague Avenue and North Vista Road, Deputy Mark Gregory said.

Three investigations by other departments found Bodman’s SUV did not strike Holyk.

The teen’s parents have rejected those findings and filed a lawsuit against the sheriff’s office. Witnesses interviewed in the immediate aftermath said they heard the screech of brakes. The investigations dispute those recollections, saying neither Holyk nor his bicycle was hit by the patrol SUV.

Bodman had been driving 70 mph along Sprague through Spokane Valley en route to aid another deputy who had called for help. Bodman stopped after nearly hitting Holyk, worried he had struck the boy.

Prosecutors have used the outside investigations to clear Bodman of criminal wrongdoing. But Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich determined in his own investigation that Bodman should have engaged the patrol SUV’s emergency equipment, notified dispatch and then proceeded to aid the other deputy.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article contained a description of the encounter that could be construed to indicate Holyk fell after the patrol car sped past him. An accident reconstruction video shows Holyk falling just before the patrol car reached the intersection.

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