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Father of gay teen who committed suicide killed during nationwide walk against bullying

Joe Bell
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Joe Bell in Denver, Colo., in a photo posted to his Facebook page on Sept. 24.Photo:

Joe Bell, the Oregon man who last April began a cross-country trek to spread his message against bullying after his 15-year-old gay son hanged himself, was hit and killed by a semi-truck on a Colorado highway Wednesday evening.

A Facebook page chronicling Bell’s journey — Joe’s Walk For Change — had posted a simple message Thursday morning: “He will continue his journey now with Jadin. Please keep his family in your prayers and thoughts.”

Joe Bell
Facebook
Joe Bell in Denver, Colo., in a photo posted to his Facebook page on Sept. 24.

Bell, 48, was walking east on the shoulder of Highway 40, 20 miles northwest of Kit Carson, Colo., when he was struck from behind at about 5:10 p.m. local time, reported KKTV.com.

Colorado State Patrol officers say they are investigating the possibility that the driver had fallen asleep when the crash happened.

Kenneth Raven, 49, of a Bryan, Texas, trucking company was cited for careless driving resulting in death.

Joe Bell launched his 5,000 mile journey across the country to speak to people about the the effects of bullying after his son Jadin, who was openly gay, had been bullied at La Grande, Ore., High School before he committed suicide in February.

Joe Bell said he planned to share his son’s story to as many people as he could.

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He also established a foundation, Faces For Change, to promote anti-bullying programs.

On Wednesday, a Facebook photo showed a road sign indicating Kit Carson was 20 miles away.

The caption, “Making headway, one step at a time,” was likely Joe Bell’s last public words.

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