A teenage bicyclist’s DNA was found on the bumper of a Spokane County Sheriff’s Office patrol car even though investigations have found that a deputy did not hit the boy before he died.
An attorney for the family of Ryan Holyk received that information in response to questions submitted to the Sheriff’s Office as part of the discovery process in the civil suit the Holyk family has filed against Deputy Joe Bodman and the Sheriff’s Office.
“Information as critical and important as finding his DNA on the bumper confirms to me that there is more to the story than what they want to release,” said the attorney, Mike Maurer.
Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said he was disappointed that Maurer is “trying to try this case in the media” without all the evidence being presented.
Bodman was heading west on Sprague Avenue at 70 mph while responding to help another deputy. Holyk attempted to cross Sprague at Vista Road on a bicycle with no brakes, against the light. An investigative report said Holyk turned his handlebars sharply to the right, flipped over the handlebars and landed on his head as Bodman swerved to the right.
Knezovich determined that Bodman violated department policy by speeding without his lights and sirens on. The deputy received a letter of reprimand.
The sheriff said the DNA on Bodman’s patrol car likely was deposited when Bodman returned to the scene and parked very close to Holyk. There were numerous medics, police officers and civilians who had access to both Holyk and the patrol car, Knezovich said.
“All it takes is someone brushing up against that vehicle to transfer DNA,” he said.
Knezovich said there was no damage of any kind to the patrol car, including to the bumper where the DNA was found.
Investigation photos show Holyk lying in the crosswalk on top of his bicycle, Knezovich said. “That would not happen when a 2,500-pound vehicle hits a bicycle in the middle of the crosswalk,” he said.
If Holyk had been hit by the speeding patrol car he would have been launched across the intersection, Knezovich said.
“There’s just absolutely no way Ryan was hit by the bumper of that vehicle,” he said. “Physics just doesn’t allow that.”
Maurer said he can’t say why Holyk was not thrown if he was hit by the car.
“What the eyewitnesses describe is that he was putting the bike down in reaction to suddenly having this police car on top of him,” Maurer said. “As far as the physics go, I don’t know. We’ll have experts weigh in on that.”
Knezovich has recommended that the case not be settled and said he wants it to go to trial so all the evidence can be presented.
“As soon as we get that out, everyone will understand the nature of the situation,” he said.
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