LAGRANDE, Ore. -- A father who embarked on a national trek to honor his gay son who took his life after being bullied, was struck and killed by a semi in Colorado.
Joe Bell, 48, was killed on a highway in eastern Colorado, according to news reports and Bell's Facebook page dedicated to the quest. Bell was pronounced dead at the scene of the 5 p.m. collision, according to KKTV.
The semi-driver from Texas may have fallen asleep at the wheel, according to Colorado state troopers. He was cited for careless driving resulting in death.
The Joe's Walk For Change Facebook page was flooded with eulogies to the father and son. The news was delivered on the page with the following message.
Joe's son Jadin Bell was a sophomore at LaGrande High School. Jadin's family said the boy was bullied because he was openly gay. Jadin was found hanging from playground equipment at a grade school in late January and died two weeks later in a Portland hospital.
Joe Bell left on his crusade in August. He told KGW that he knew his son was gay and it was causing problems. Things got bad in January, he said. "You could just see the pain in him," the father said.
Joe Bell kept track of his cross country trek on a Facebook page. The page is filled with his own posts, and now also comments by those who met him along the way and were touched by his message.
On the day he died, a member of the Lincoln Co. Sheriff's office met Bell and posted on the county sheriff's Facebook page about being inspired by Bell and his message. He then helped arrange a talk for Bell at a local church that same evening and encouraged people to come out and hear Bell speak. Later, that same officer had to share the news that Bell had been killed.
Watch the KGW report when Joe Bell left LaGrande on his walk.