(WALTON COUNTY, Fla.) — A Rhode Island activist who was on a mission to walk across the country barefoot was struck and killed by an SUV while walking on a Florida highway on Saturday afternoon.
Mark Baumer was walking on the shoulder of Highway 90 in Walton County, Fla. when the driver of the SUV veered off the road and hit him, ABC News affiliate WEAR reported on Sunday. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver has been identified as Sonja Siglar of Westville, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol ruled out alcohol as a factor and said that charges are pending, according to WEAR.
Baumer said he was hiking across the country to “save earth” and to raise funding for the FANG Collective, a non-profit organization that protests the natural gas industry.
FANG confirmed Baumer’s death in a Facebook post and asked the public to honor his memory by looking back at the blog posts and poems he produced during his barefoot trek across the U.S.
“We are shocked and devastated to learn about the passing of our friend Mark Baumer,” the organization said in a statement on Sunday. “We will work to commemorate and honor Mark’s life in the best way that we can.”
According to his website, Barefoot Across America, Baumer began the journey in October of last year, when he vowed to chronicle the trip in daily video and blog posts.
“I began the journey on Oct. 13, 2016. I don’t know when it will end,” Baumer said on his website, urging visitors to donate to his YouCaring campaign.
As of Monday, the “Crossing America Barefoot to Save Earth from Climate Change” campaign had raised more than $14,000, exceeding its goal by more than $4,000.
“Every day corporations continue to profit from earth’s destruction. I decided cross America barefoot to see if I could save Earth,” the campaign said in its mission statement. “I know this is a lofty goal, but I hope through my walk I can raise awareness about climate change.”
The campaign posted its last update on Jan. 16, when it announced that it was “three-quarters of the way to $10,000.” At least 50 donations had been made since Sunday, bringing the total number of supporters to about 400.
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