COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Family and friends are trying to cope with a tragic loss of a man who gave back to his community.
The driver is now behind bars, and friends are calling his death senseless.
“An absolute tragedy,” said Steve Fitch. “This is a senseless taking of a life.”
Police said Tunnell, 58, was riding his bike on Sciota Darby Creek Road around 5 a.m. Saturday when he was hit.
Police arrested Vincent DePalma, 31, of Dublin, on suspicion of DUI. According to court records, DePalma has been charged in the past with several traffic violations, many of which were either reduced or dropped. His last recorded violation was a driving under suspension charge in May 2013.
“You could not find a better person than Kurt Tunnell and it’s going to take a while to get over this,” Fitch said.
He said he knew Tunnell from when Tunnell was a former managing partner at the Bicker and Eckler law firm.
Tunnell also served as the Chief Counsel for Gov. George V. Voinovich.
“Kurt was a professional and an even better person,” Fitch said.
Tunnell is described as a leader…
“People had so much respect for him that they would follow him,” Fitch said.
…a family man…
“Also had a strong faith,” Fitch said. “I know he was looking forward to be more active in his church.”
…with a friendly personality.
“You never saw Kurt without a smile.”
Fitch said Tunnell stepped down from the law firm to spend more time with family.
The firm issued a statement that said, in part, “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.”
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted also issued a statement on Tunnell’s death, saying, “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.”