A 3rd District judge died Thursday while riding his bike after a distracted driver hit him in Mill Creek Canyon, police said.
Judge Anthony Quinn was riding his bike up the canyon about 1:40 p.m. when a 78-year-old man hit him, according to Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal. The collision happened at 4600 E. Mill Creek Canyon. Emergency crews took Quinn to University Hospital, where he died.
Hoyal said Quinn, 60, was riding up the canyon on the correct, right-hand side of the road while the driver who is from out-of-state and was sightseeing was headed down. The driver become distracted by the scenery, Hoyal explained, then veered across the oncoming lane and into the shoulder, where he struck Quinn.
Police have not released the name of the driver. Investigators were on scene late Thursday afternoon reconstructing the accident. When the investigation concludes, the case will be turned over to the Salt Lake County district attorney's office, which will screen it for possible charges, Hoyal added.
Quinn's son, Tom Quinn, said much of the family worked in the legal profession. Anthony Quinn followed a similar career path, Tom said, but decided to become a judge aftergrowing tired of the contentiousness of being a lawyer. Tom also said his father felt he might be able to do more good on the bench than he could arguing cases.
"From what I understand, he was relatively stern but also fair," Tom added of Quinn's judicial style.
Tom described Quinn as an "avid cyclist" who had been riding for decades. He often rode around the city, then would head up Mill Creek Canyon near his home to finish.
Anthony Quinn, the son of a military father, was born in Virginia, grew up in Connecticut and moved to Utah about the time he started high school, Tom said. He eventually married and had two sons and a daughter, all of whom are grown.
"He was a good man," Tom added. "I looked up to him my entire life. He taught me a lot. I just got married, and he did the ceremony."
Attorney Greg Skordas described Quinn as a private man and a well-respected judge.
"When you got into his court," Skordas said, "he was always well-prepared and had compelling questions."
Quinn also was a strong and successful cyclist, according to Skordas, who also rides and repeatedly competed against Quinn in races. Skordas said Quinn rode the Logan to Jackson relay, or LOTOJA, numerous times and even won once.
"He was good," Skordas said. "He was faster than me, and I hold my own."
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill also praised Quinn on Thursday, calling him a "consummate professional" who was respected by prosecutors and defense lawyers.
"He was incredibly thoughtful, very fair and always strived to do the right thing," Gill said.
Anthony Quinn was appointed to the 3rd District Court in September 1997 by then-Gov. Michael Leavitt. He served Salt Lake, Summit and Tooele counties. Quinn received a law degree in 1980 from Brigham Young University, where he served as Note and Comment editor of the law review.
After a one-year clerkship with U.S. District Judge David K. Winder, he maintained a civil trial practice until his appointment to the bench. Quinn is a member of the Utah State Bar and was qualified as an attorney to represent cases before the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Utah Supreme Court Justice Matthew Durrant issued a statement Thursday afternoon expressing grief over Quinn's death: "It is with great sorrow that the court family has learned of the tragic passing of Judge Anthony Quinn. My deepest sympathies go out to his wife and family. Judge Quinn was an outstanding judge and person whose service to the people of Utah over the past 16 years has touched countless lives. Our entire court family mourns his loss."
In addition to his work as a judge, Quinn has acted as an adjunct professor at Westminster College. He has served on the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure, the Executive Committee of the Salt Lake Area Safe at Home Coalition and the Board of District Court Judges.