Five months after he died, Salt Lake City prosecutors are close to deciding whether to file criminal charges against the bus driver who ran over businessman Richard "Mr. Downtown" Wirick.
The Utah Transit Authority has already fired the bus driver, Cheryl Kidd, even though a police report says the 82-year-old Wirick was crossing a street against the traffic light when the bus hit him.
"I'm sorry for her," said Stephen Wirick, the victim's son, "but if she would have been paying attention or doing her job correctly she wouldn't have hit my father."
Salt Lake City First Assistant Prosecutor Scott Fisher said a decision on whether to file charges against the 49-year-old Kidd could be made this week . Fisher declined to discuss all the circumstances of the accident that killed Wirick but said state statutes would allow him to file anything from a traffic infraction to a misdemeanor negligent homicide charge, which is punishable by up to a year in jail. City prosecutors cannot file felonies.
The elder Wirick owned the Oxford Shop shoe store, at 65 W. 100 South, for almost 60 years. He earned his nickname for his support of downtown businesses.
On Feb. 21, Wirick was at the intersection of 200 East and 400 South. A Salt Lake City police report says Wirick was on the west side of 200 East, walking north.
Wirick was still in the crosswalk when the traffic signals changed. The UTA bus had a green light when it hit Wirick in the far right, westbound lane of 400 South, according to the police report.
Wirick was trapped under the bus until firefighters could remove him. The police report says Kidd did not see Wirick and there was no evidence Kidd was driving under the influence.
Although Kidd had a green light, that may not relieve her of responsibility, said Lorenzo Miller, a former city prosecutor who is now a private defense attorney. Miller has no association with the Kidd case.
Miller said state law says a pedestrian who begins crossing a street with permission of a traffic signal may finish crossing even if the signal changes.
"[Wirick] had the absolute right to finish the maneuver, in other words, walk across the intersection," Miller said.
Kidd did not return messages seeking comment.
UTA terminated Kidd on March 15. UTA spokesman Gerry Carpenter would not discuss Kidd's case but said, in general, a driver isn't automatically terminated for a fatal accident. A UTA committee reviews every accident and determines what action to take against the driver, Carpenter said.