Olympic skier commits suicide in Utah

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 26, 2011 9:33 PM
Olympic skier commits suicide in Utah

By James Nelson

SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) - Olympic skier Jeret "Speedy" Peterson has committed suicide in Utah, days after his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association said on Tuesday.

Peterson, 29, a silver medalist in the men's freestyle aerials competition at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada, shot himself to death near Salt Lake City, the association said in a statement.

Peterson's death on Monday came three days after the Olympic athlete was arrested in Idaho on suspicion of misdemeanor drunken driving. He was released from the Blaine County Jail in Idaho after posting $500 bail.

Salt Lake City police officials did not return calls.

Peterson had been arrested after speeding in a Dodge Dakota pickup through Hailey, in south-central Idaho, at an estimated 70 miles per hour, which was over the local speed limit of 25 mph, police said.

He failed three field sobriety tests, including a walk and turn and a one-leg stand, according to a police report.

Peterson pleaded not guilty in paperwork filed by his attorney to the charge of driving under the influence and the speeding citation.

He was originally from Boise, Idaho, but most recently lived in the ski haven of Park City, Utah. He had not planned on competing during the 2012 season and was a full-time business student at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, according to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association.

He gained the nickname "Speedy" because coaches thought he resembled the cartoon character "Speed Racer" when wearing his helmet, the association said.

Peterson was found guilty in 2008 of public urination in Boise, and in 2006 he pleaded guilty to theft by receiving stolen property, according to Idaho court records.

(Additional reporting by Laura Zuckerman, writing by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Cynthia Johnston)