Firefighters save bicyclist after witnessing hit-and-run in West Valley City

Apr 11, 2022, 8:13 AM | Updated: Jun 20, 2022, 12:55 pm

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — A man is in the hospital after police said a driver hit him as he rode his bicycle in West Valley City.

They said the driver took off. Luckily, a fire engine was waiting at the stoplight and the firefighting crew inside saw the whole incident.

Of all the calls West Valley City Fire Station No. 72 has been to and situations they’ve seen, this one is a first and it brings a deeper meaning to the phrase “first responder.”

“To see it happen right in front of you, try to figure out what just happened and then what to do was a lot different than being dispatched, being told what’s going on, being told what mostly to expect,” said Capt. Denver Rigby with the West Valley City Fire Department.

As his crew headed to a call on Sunday along 4100 South near the 4800 West intersection, Rigby described how a gray SUV plowed into a man riding a bike across the crosswalk.

“We saw what looked like debris in the air being hit by another car and we couldn’t decide, the driver and I were trying to talk back and forth, ‘What is that?!’” Rigby recounted. “And then we realized, as we saw it flipping upside down — the guy’s shirt came up. And I said, ‘That’s a person!’”

Rigby and his team immediately parked the engine, threw on the lights, and jumped out to help.

He said the man was still moving a little on the ground, bleeding and semi-conscious.

“Some of the vitals that we saw, we thought, ‘This is it. We’re fighting a losing battle,’” he said.

As they worked to keep the man alive, Rigby saw the driver in the SUV that hit the man speed off.

“It was gone. It was gone. It did not even slow down, didn’t even stop,” he said.

Rigby was hoping to get information to help police but could only see it was a gray midsize SUV.

“The driver fled the scene southbound, and I would suspect he probably has front-end damage to his vehicle,” said Lt. Jason Vincent with the West Valley City Police Department.

He expressed they are hoping to find the driver and find out why they didn’t stop.

In the meantime, he said the man on the bicycle has been stabilized at the hospital, with broken bones and a severe concussion.

With Rigby and the crew so quick to respond, he said paramedics got the man to the hospital in less than 20 minutes.

He and Vincent are now sharing a message for drivers to stay vigilant, especially as the weather warms up and more people spend time outside on their bicycles.

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Firefighters save bicyclist after witnessing hit-and-run in West Valley City