El Tour de Tucson bicyclist hit by car, killed

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El Tour de Tucson bicyclist hit by car, killed

By Ina Ronquillo, Simone Del Rosario. CREATED Nov 23, 2013 - UPDATED: Nov 24, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A bicyclist with El Tour de Tucson died after being hit by a car in the designated bike lane near I-10 and the Sunset Frontage Road. 

Capt. Adam Goldberg with Northwest Fire said the accident happened before 5:30 p.m., just 10 miles away from the finish line.

John Henderson, 59, of Tucson died on scene. 

Witnesses said the bicycle and cyclist flew 10 to 15 feet in the air before crashing down after impact. 

Cones separated designated bike lanes and car lanes for the course, but the Arizona Department of Public Safety said the driver was traveling in the bike lane when he hit Henderson.

According to DPS, the driver is in his late 70s and drove a short way up the road, distraught, before pulling over. 

DPS is investigating the crash as an accident.

The El Tour de Tucson & Perimeter Bicycling Association of America Inc. Founder & Executive Director Richard J. DeBernardis released the following statement regarding the death of John Henderson.

"I was made aware of John Henderson's accident from the moment it happened and prayed for John to pull through.  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.
Today I spoke with John's partner and told him that he is not alone in this loss and that he has the hearts and support of everyone involved with El Tour de Tucson.   Bill, John's partner, told me that half way through El Tour, he met up with John to give him coffee and told him that it was ok to quit, but John did not want to give up even though he was cold, freezing and wet.  John was determined to finish.

I told Bill that we are here for him and John's family and will honor and respect the wishes of the family.  For now, we ask everyone - volunteers, El Tour cyclists, support staff, police agencies, sponsors and everyone associated with El Tour - to keep John's family in their prayers and thoughts over the Thanksgiving Holidays to help them through this tragic loss.  Our love, prayers and thoughts are with John, his partner and family.  It breaks my heart to send out this message."