Former chief counsel to Gov. Voinovich killed in bicycle crash near Hilliard; Suspect in custody

Local News

A 58-year-old man, who served as the Chief Counsel for Gov. George V. Voinovich, died Saturday morning after he was struck by a vehicle while riding on a bicycle in Brown Township near Hilliard.

Kurtis Tunnell, of Hilliard, was struck by a vehicle driven by Vincent Depalma, 31, of Dublin, in front of 8409 Scioto Darby Creek Road just after 5 a.m. Saturday, Sheriff Dallas Baldwin said in a press release.

Depalma was taken into custody for suspicion of DUI.

Depalma was driving westbound on Scioto and Darby Creek Road east of Walker Road and Tunnell was riding his bike westbound on Scioto and Darby Creek Road west of Walker Road when Tunnell was struck from behind, according to Baldwin.

Tunnell struck the windshield of Depalma’s vehicle and landed on the roadway in the westbound lane, according to Baldwin.

Tunnell was transported to Riverside hospital with life-threatening injuries by Norwich Township Medics, Baldwin said.

He died of his injuries at 10:28 a.m., according to Baldwin.

DeWine and his wife, Fran, issued the following statement on Tunnell’s passing.

“Fran and I were shocked and deeply saddened to learn that our friend, Kurt Tunnell, died today.  I first got to know Kurt when I was Lt. Governor and he was Chief Counsel for Gov. George V. Voinovich.  Kurt provided excellent legal counsel, and the governor and I relied on his outstanding legal skills combined with his in-depth knowledge of public policy.  After his government service, Kurt was managing partner at the Bricker & Eckler Law Firm where he headed their government relations practice, which included representing the Ohio Republican Party.  Kurt served his community, his state, and his fellow man, and we will miss him greatly.  Fran and I send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Julie, and his children.”

Gov. Mike DeWine

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted issued the following statement:

“Kurt was the definition of a good man. He cared about others and tried to make the world a better place every day of his life. Tina and I will miss him.”

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted

The law firm of Bricker & Eckler, where Tunnell was a former managing partner, also issued a statement on his passing:

“This is a tragic loss, both for the Tunnell family and for Kurt’s extended family at Bricker & Eckler.

Kurt was a devoted husband and father at home. He lived a life dedicated to touching individuals in a truly impactful way, and the positive impact he made on this firm over the course of the past 30-plus years cannot be overstated.

Kurt was committed to servant leadership and embodied this in everything he did. Always humble, he happily gave far more than he received. His Gifts of leadership, service, and success are the foundation for the legacy he leaves at our firm.

Faith was always at the center of Kurt’s live. Our prayers are with his family today, and we will rely on the strength of Kurt’s faith as we cope with this tragic loss.”

Statement from Bricker & Eckler

The crash remains under investigation.

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