Dad walking across country to memorialize son hit, killed by truck in Colo.
DENVER — An Oregon father walking across the country to raise awareness about bullying was hit by a truck in eastern Colorado.
Joe Bell, 48, was walking on U.S. 40 in Cheyenne County about 20 miles northwest of Kit Carson, when he was hit around 5:10 Wednesday.
The Colorado State Patrol said Bell died at the scene.
The driver of the truck, Kenneth Raven, 49, from Bryan, Tex., was cited for careless driving resulting in death.
“At this point in the investigation we believe that the truck driver may have been drowsy or falling asleep at the wheel at the time of the crash,” said Trooper Josh Lewis.
Bell was walking across America to “educate anyone who will listen about the lasting effects of bullying,” said a website about this trek.
Bell’s son, Jadin, 15, took his life earlier this year. Jadin had been bullied at school and on social media because he was gay.
Bell began his walk in April and planned to wander through several states and eventually end in New York City.
During a stop in Denver in September, Bell told FOX31 Denver that after Jadin died, Bell quit his job and took out his 401K to pay for the trip.
“You know the bullying comes from people not accepting people for who they are,” Bell said in September. “I had more family. I needed to fight back, so it came to me to walk.”
On Oct. 9, Bell’s Facebook page showed a road sign displaying Kit Carson was 20 miles away. “Making headway, one step at a time,” read a caption to the post.
Hundreds of people have commented on a Facebook page for the walk called Joe’s Walk for Change.
“My heart goes out to this family. Their courage has inspired many and their support to the LGBT community is a gift that can never be repaid,” wrote Frank Lin.
Richard Eveleigh, who runs the suicide prevention organization Second Wind, walked five miles with Bell.
“What he exemplified in the way he went about his mission was being a noble person doing something exceptional for a very important cause,” Eveleigh said.