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Environmental activist walking barefoot across U.S. struck and killed on highway

Green activist Mark Baumer died on a Florida highway Saturday.
Green activist Mark Baumer died on a Florida highway Saturday. Instagram

People following Mark Baumer’s journey know what the soles of his feet looked like — dirty, battered, bruised, cuts here and there.

The Rhode Island activist, 33, began walking across the United States, barefoot, in October to “save earth” and raise awareness about climate change.

On Saturday afternoon, as he walked along U.S. 90 in Walton County in Florida, an SUV struck and killed him. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to WEAR TV in Pensacola.

Florida Highway Patrol authorities said the SUV driver, Sonja Siglar, 51, failed to stay in her lane and drove onto the shoulder of the road, hitting Baumer.

The News Herald in Panama City reported that Siglar had a 2-year-old in the SUV with her. Neither was injured.

Authorities said alcohol was not a factor and charges are pending.

“I began the journey on Oct. 13, 2016. I don’t know when it will end,” Baumer wrote on his website, Barefoot Across America, where he chronicled his journey with blog posts, poems and videos.

He was also raising money for The FANG Collective, a nonprofit organization that protests the natural gas industry.

“We are shocked and devastated to learn about the passing of our friend Mark Baumer,” the organization said in a statement Sunday. “We will work to commemorate and honor Mark’s life in the best way that we can.”

The group asked people to honor Baumer by visiting his website and reading his thoughts from the road.

“I probably won’t even make it out of Rhode Island,” Baumer joked on his website.

He had just marked his 100th day of walking when he died.

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