El Tour cyclist killed in crash wanted to finish race despite cold, rain

2013-11-25T00:00:00Z 2013-11-25T19:02:38Z El Tour cyclist killed in crash wanted to finish race despite cold, rainBy Veronica M. Cruz Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

An El Tour de Tucson cyclist killed Saturday when a car struck him from behind, was determined to complete the race despite the cold and rainy conditions, officials said.

John Henderson, 59, was riding in El Tour for the first time.

Halfway through the route, Henderson met with his partner, Bill Roberts, who gave him coffee and told him it was OK to quit the race, Richard DeBernardis, founder and president of El Tour, said in a statement Sunday.

“John did not want to give up even though he was cold, freezing and wet,” DeBernardis said. “John was determined to finish.”

Around 5:20 p.m., Henderson, who was riding in the designated El Tour bike lane, was struck by a 78-year-old man driving a Nissan Leaf on the eastbound Interstate 10 frontage road near Sunset Road.

Paramedics were unable to resuscitate Henderson, and 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 at the scene of the crash and was taken to the hospital for evaluation and treatment for undisclosed reasons.

Investigators do not believe that drugs or alcohol were factors in the crash.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety is investigating the crash. Public information officers were not available for further comment Sunday.

Contact reporter Veronica Cruz at vcruz@azstarnet.com or 573-4224.

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