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Former Cop Convicted In Death Of West Bloomfield Man Cycling In Hawaii

October 15, 2018 - 2:37 pm

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP/WWJ) - A Hawaii jury has convicted a former Big Island police officer in the 2015 death of a bicyclist from Michigan. 

Jody Buddemeyer was found guilty last week of misdemeanor negligent homicide after prosecutors say he struck and killed 63-year-old Jeffrey Surnow with his police car while on duty. 

Authorities said Surnow of West Bloomfield was riding on Waikoloa Road on the Big Island in March 2015 when Buddemeyer's car hit him from behind; video showing Surnow's mangled bike following the crash. 

Buddemeyer was arrested, but quickly released, and it took well over a year for charges to be filed in the case. 

Prosecutors claimed Buddemeyer concealed evidence and misled investigating officers, but the jury found him not guilty of evidence tampering and false reporting to law enforcement.

The defense had argued that Buddemeyer, who was fired from his job with the department two months after the incident, was fatigued at the time of the crash due to working a double-back shift.

Hawaii New Now reported last year that the crash, along with pressure from the cycling community, led to the addition of the nine-foot shoulder on the highway where it happened. 

Surnow, who left behind a wife and three adult children, was known as a strong and experience bicyclist who competed in the Iron Man and organized cycling events, according to reports.  A "ghost bike" marks the spot where he died. 

Buddemeyer faces a $2,000 fine and up to a year in prison when he's sentenced on Nov. 30.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.