Former Hopkinton Public Schools Health and Wellness Department leader Bruce Elliott died this past Saturday after being struck head-on by an SUV while bicycling in Mentone, California.
Elliott, 55, had been living in nearby Redlands, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles. Captain of a cycling group called Don’s Bikes Race Team, Elliott was taking part in a group ride when the accident occurred.
According to a police report, Elliott was transported to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 10:21 a.m., about an hour after emergency responders were called to the scene.
The accident was under investigation by the California Highway Patrol.
A memorial service is planned for Sunday at 2 p.m. at the University of the Redlands Memorial Chapel.
A fundraising page has been set up via spotfund, with donations to be split between Bikes for Kids and Grand Teton National Park.
Elliott worked in the Hopkinton school system from about 2012-17, according to current Hopkinton High School principal Evan Bishop. Elliott left Hopkinton and moved to Southern California after his wife accepted a job there. Elliott had been working as a physical education teacher at Bella Vista Elementary School in Desert Hot Springs, California.
“He was a wonderful guy, such a hard worker, so positive,” Bishop recalled. “He always had a smile on his face, always willing to roll up his sleeves and do whatever he was asked to do. He understood the stress that a lot of students were feeling and was just a really dependable, kind, caring, supportive colleague and leader of his department.”
Jeanne Reimonn was a Hopkinton neighbor and friend and remained in contact with the Elliott family after they moved. Bruce and Cindy Elliott have two grown children: a son, Wyatt (who graduated from HHS), and a daughter, Ainsley.
“He was a wonderful husband and father and was the wellness director at the high school because he always had an interest in healthy eating and healthy activities for young people,” Reimonn said. “He was always upbeat, a positive guy. He was a positive role model for a lot of middle school and high school students. It’s a big loss.”
Reimonn said she talked recently with Elliott’s wife, who shared that the accident appears to be a case of driver’s error.
“She said she and the kids are in shock, it happened so suddenly,” Reimonn said, “but she’s grateful that they had 30 wonderful years together and two great children.”
Reimonn noted the dangers of cyclists sharing the road with motor vehicles and said Hopkinton’s new downtown bike lanes are the type of thing that should be promoted.
“Bicycling infrastructure is something that we need more of,” she said. “It would help prevent some of these accidents.”