15-year-old Jadin Bell from Le Grande, Oregon took his own life this February, yet another tragic teen victim of anti-gay bullying. However, out of that tragedy, Jadin’s father Joe started a journey to raise awareness and promote anti-bullying programs. “It will be a healing process for him,” said Bud Hill, co-founder of Joe’s Walk For Change.
But in a heartbreaking twist to the Bell family’s ordeal, Joe was hit by a semi-truck while walking on Highway 40 near the Town of Kit Carson. Bell was pronounced dead at the scene, reports KKTV. Troopers say the driver, 49-year-old Kenneth Raven, may have fallen asleep at the wheel and he has been cited with careless driving resulting in death.
Joe’s death was confirmed earlier today on his Walk for Change Facebook page:
I am very sad to have to announce that our friend Joe Bell was hit and struck by a semi while on his walk last night. Thank you so much for all of your continued support, he loved everyone he came into contact with, and was so appreciative of all of your support. I will update with info as it becomes available. He will continue his journey now with Jadin. Please keep his family in your prayers and thoughts.
Before his journey was cut short, Joe had hoped to be the first person to walk across the country with two artificial knees — he had undergone back surgery and double knee replacement surgery back in 2010. “They tell me, ‘You can’t do that,’” Bell said at the time. “I can only put it in God’s hands.”