Beloved Washington Activist Dies After Crashing Into Car Door

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DURHAM, New Hampshire .- John M. Kavanagh, 58, of Burnham Avenue died August 17, 2014 at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

A graveside service will be held this Saturday, August 23rd at 11 a.m. in the Newfields Cemetery, Route 108, Newfields.

Durham police said Kavanagh was riding his bike on Main Street in a marked bike lane when a driver, who was legally parked on the side of the road, opened his driver’s-side door. Kavanagh struck the open door, and was thrown into the road.

Witnesses said it was a slow summertime Saturday in downtown Durham when the collision broke the evening quiet.

“We saw someone laying in the middle of the road, and their bike was down too,” said Mary Scott, a junior at the University of New Hampshire who saw the crash.

Scott and a fellow barista rushed out of Aroma Joe’s and saw the cyclist on the pavement injured badly.

“But when he was taken into the ambulance, we saw him lift his legs up. And Claire, the girl I was working with, saw him move his mouth,” Scott said.

Kavanagh was taken to Wentworth Douglas Hospital and later transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

“Initially it appears that once he contacted the car door that he went off the bike, over the door and struck the roadway,” said Durham Police Deputy Chief Rene Kelley.

Police said Kavanagh was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident and suffered massive head trauma.

Investigators said the car’s 24-year-old driver was not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol and was parked in a legal parking space.

“I don’t know what the bicyclist or the driver could have done differently,” Kelley said.

“Again, the investigation is still ongoing, so we haven’t really come to a determination about fault at this point.”

The accident remains under investigation. No charges have been filed.

“I think it’s very sad. It’s tragic,” Scott said. “I had no idea that he had passed, so I feel bad for everyone involved in that situation because it could happen to anyone.”

The town of Durham recently finished reconfiguring traffic on Main Street, making it one-way, adding parking and — in theory — making it safer for pedestrians, motorists and cyclists.

Durham Town Manager Todd Selig said the town will carefully evaluate the specifics of the crash once police complete their investigation. He said safety on the roadway is a top priority.

Born December 27, 1955, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., he was the son of Bernard M. and Alice (Webb) Kavanagh.

He graduated from Oyster River High School, Class of 1973 and went on to the University of New Hampshire and later received his BA from the University of Maryland.

“It is with great sadness that we share the loss of our longtime volunteer, valued employee and dear friend, John Kavanagh”, said one speaker of La Clinica del Pueblo in their online magazine.

After living in El Salvador, John worked in various community organizations providing support to Salvadoreans refugees arriving in Washington DC in the 80´s, including La Casa and Carecen. He joined La Clínica in 1993, where he worked as our Data Manager until 2003, the speaker explained.

“He was also an important participant of our yoga program for patients, one of his greatest passions. John will be deeply missed by all of us.”

Several coworkers at La Clinica also expressed their sadness.

“We have lost an excellent friend who served from the bottom of His heart to the Salvadoran community here in the Washington area as well as in El Salvador”, said Sonia Umanzor, a coworker with Kavanagh at La Clinica del Pueblo not long ago.

Also, guitarist  and composer Lilo Gonzalez and His wife remember the hard work of Kavanagh who was active with many social and political causes throughout his life and He was currently employed at Goss International in Durham.

Moreover, He was an avid reader and had many hobbies including: yoga, kayaking, swimming, bicycling, and ice skating.

Survivors include his sister, Diana (Kavanagh) Reed and her husband, Christopher Reed of Norfolk, Va., and their daughter, Christina.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to La Clinica Del Pueblo Inc., 2831 15th NW, Washington, D.C. 20009.

Visit www.kentandpelczarfh.com to sign an online guest book.

Source: News Wire Service/MLNews

 

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About Ramón Jiménez

Ramón Jiménez, actual Managing Editor de MetroLatinoUSA. Periodista que cubre eventos de las comunidades latinas en Washington D.C., Maryland y Virginia. Graduado de la Escuela de Periodismo de la Universidad del Distrito de Columbia. Galardonado en numerosas ocasiones por parte de la Asociación Nacional de Publicaciones Hispanas (NAHP) y otras organizaciones comunitarias y deportivas de la región metropolitana de esta capital. También premiado en dos ocasiones como Mejor Periodista del Año por la cobertura de la comunidad salvadoreña; premios otorgados por la Oficina de Asuntos Latinos del Alcalde de Washington (OLA) y otras organizaciones. Ha sido miembro del jurado calificador en diferentes concursos literarios, de belleza y talento en la región metropolitana. Ha visitado zonas de desastre en Nicaragua, Honduras y El Salvador e invitado a esos países por organizaciones que asisten a personas de escasos recursos económicos. Antes trabajó en otros medios de prensa de Virginia y Washington, D.C., incluyendo reportajes para una agencia noticiosa mundial.

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