Fresno County, CA – Fresno Police Department (FPD) Officer Steven “Steve” Hunt died in an off-duty bicycle crash on July 30, according to his department.
California Highway Patrol (CHP) Spokesperson Gerardo Rodriguez said the 59-year-old officer was riding his bike eastbound on McKinley Grove Road near Shaver Lake at approximately 10:15 a.m. when he made a right-hand curve and veered into the westbound lane of traffic, The Fresno Bee reported.
Officer Hunt collided with an oncoming Toyota Tacoma that was traveling between 15 and 20 miles per hour, Rodriguez said.
Investigators said they don’t know why Officer Hunt slid into the traffic lane, KFSN reported.
The veteran officer succumbed to his injuries at the scene.
FPD Chief Paco Balderrama confirmed Officer Hunt’s death in a press release later that night.
“It is with great sadness that I announce we have lost a member of our Fresno Police family,” Chief Balderrama wrote. “Earlier today, Officer Steve Hunt was tragically killed in an accident while riding his bicycle near Shaver Lake.”
Officer Hunt joined the FPD in 1989 and spent the next 33 years of his life serving his community.
He was due to retire at the end of August.
“He was more than just another officer in a uniform,” Chief Balderrama said. “He was a passionate member of our law enforcement family.”
His fellow officers said Officer Hunt always made others a priority.
“These are just a few of the many compliments I heard today,” Chief Balderrama wrote. “’He always had time to chat and he made you feel so important when he talked to you.’ ‘He was so good with the families and children that he came in contact with.’ ‘Everyone loved him, period.’”
Officer Hunt also enjoyed dressing up as Santa Claus for the Fresno Police Officers’ Association’s (FPOA) annual Christmas parties.
He was involved with the FPOA for most of his career and was serving as a board member at the time of his death, the FPOA said in a Facebook post on Aug. 1.
“A hero is an ordinary person who faces extraordinary circumstances and acts with courage, honor, and self-sacrifice. That perfectly describes Officer Hunt,” the group said. “Steve Hunt was an amazing man who dedicated his life to helping others.”
Chief Balderrama said Officer Hunt was also dedicated to helping his fellow officers during difficult times in their careers.
“Steve will be missed by his family, our department family, and the community that he so proudly served for all of these years,” he added. “Please keep Steve’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.”
“It is with great sadness that I announce we have lost a member of our Fresno Police family. Earlier today, Officer Steve Hunt was tragically killed in an accident while riding his bicycle near Shaver Lake.” – Chief Balderrama
For the full letter, please see our FB or IG post. pic.twitter.com/rEdnchs1uY
— Fresno Police (@FresnoPolice) July 31, 2022
Our community lost a wonderful Fresno PD officer today in a tragic accident. Sending heartfelt condolences to the family of Officer Steve Hunt 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/eSLGQO1oma
— Mayor Jerry Dyer (@MayorJerryDyer) July 31, 2022
It’s so great to see members of our community show how they continue to be #HereForFresno during this time! Officer Steve Hunt recently visited a Fresno Housing community to deliver kids care packages with Fresno PAL and organizers from Teens That Care. pic.twitter.com/mTkPc2Z2TP
— Fresno Housing (@FresnoHousing) April 28, 2020
Our staff honoring Officer Steve Hunt for his Officer of the Year Award! #Congratulations!
Thank you for the service you provide to our residents and the community in Southwest area. #OfficerOfTheYear #Fresno @FPOA_Fresno @FresnoPolice pic.twitter.com/2tNJzjjJF3
— Fresno Housing (@FresnoHousing) February 24, 2018
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Fresno Police Department Officer Steven “Steve” Hunt, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.