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La Grande Father Killed On Walk Across US In Memory Of His Son

A truck has struck and killed an Oregon man who was walking across the country to raise awareness of bullying and suicide. Joseph Bell’s long hike was inspired by his son.

Bell started walking from his home in La Grande toward New York City after his 15 year-old son, Jadin, died by suicide in February. Jadin had been bullied for being gay.

Bell’s walk took him to the shoulder of Colorado’s highway 40 Thursday afternoon, where a truck hit him from behind.

Colorado State Patrol spokesman Josh Lewis says authorities don’t believe the driver was drunk or on drugs.

Joe Bell

Joe Bell

Ann Clark/Faces for Change

Lewis said, “Right now, suspicion of the driver of the semi-truck falling asleep is one of the primary causes we are investigating.”

Lewis says the driver has been charged with careless driving resulting in death. The charge carries a potential sentence of up to a year in jail.

Joe Bell’s non-profit, Faces for Change , says it will continue its work, raising awareness of bullying and teen suicide.

In an interview with OPB’s “Think Out Loud” last month, Bell said his walk was meant to help other young people.

“I know this is what Jadin would want. My son will not die in vain. I’m pouring out my heart in honor of my son, to do everything I can to help these kids,” Bell said.

On the Web:

TOL: Joe Bell Begins Walk Across The Country To Honor Jadin

TOL: Father of Bullied Teen Continues Cross-Country “Walk for Change”