The family of the man who was struck and killed by a vehicle during a Walk for Tibet event last week has finally spoken out about the tragedy. Jigme Norbu, the nephew of the Dalai Lama was killed on a Florida highway on Feb. 14 while participating in a 300-mile walk to raise awareness of Tibet’s fight for independence. Family and friends remembered the man as a “freedom fighter” and “a patriot.”
The fatal accident occurred after dark about 25 miles south of St. Augustine, Florida, on Highway A1A. It was the first day of the 300-mile walk and Norbu had walked over 20 of 30 miles he had intended to complete for the day. The 45-year-old man was walking with a friend and the two were following a vehicle driven by the woman who helped plan the walk. When the friend got tired, Norbu told his friend to go ahead with the woman in her car and find a restaurant to eat dinner at. He said he would meet the two for dinner when he finished walking a few more miles for the day. However, the Dalai Lama’s nephew never made it to join his friends for dinner that evening.
According to the State Florida Highway Patrol, Norbu was hit by an SUV from behind on the highway. The man was wearing reflectors on his sneakers and was carrying a white sign. Norbu was walking after dark because he had gotten a late start that day and wanted to make sure that he accomplished his 30 miles per day goal.
Two of the victim’s sons will join Norbu’s brother in Florida to spend three days walking in the 300-mile event in honor of their loved one and to carry out his mission. Police have not made an arrest in the fatal collision.
Sources:ABC News: “Dalai Lama’s Nephew Killed By Car on Walkathon, Had to Press On,” Jessica Hopper, 15 Feb. 2011
Fox 59 WXIN: “Family of Dalai Lama’s nephew vows to carry on his mission,” Vanessa McClure, 22 Feb. 2011