First time cyclist killed by car was determined to finish
El Tour de Tucson cyclist John Henderson, 59, was killed when a car struck him from behind. Officials report the first time participant in the bike race was determined to complete the race despite the cold and rainy conditions.
Henderson met up with his partner, Bill Roberts, halfway through the route. Roberts gave him coffee and told him it was okay if he wanted to quit the race, said Richard DeBernardis, founder and president of El Tour.
“John did not want to give up even though he was cold, freezing and wet,” DeBernardis said in a statement. “John was determined to finish.”
Henderson was riding in the designated El Tour bike lane when he was struck by a 78-year-old man driving a Nissan Leaf.
Paramedics arrived at the scene but were unable to resuscitate Henderson. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
“I was made aware of John Henderson’s accident from the moment it happened and prayed for John to pull through,” DeBernardis wrote. “Minutes later I was informed that John didn’t make it. At that very moment my heart sank and was filled with sadness as though I lost my own brother.”
The driver of the Leaf remained on the scene. He was taken to the hospital for evaluation and treatment for reasons that are undisclosed. But investigators do not believe that drugs or alcohol factored into the crash.
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