A Kittery man was struck by a car and killed in Mississippi on Tuesday while on a cross-country ride to raise money for childhood cancer research.

James Dobson, 32, was on a “Positive Vibes Tour” from New England to San Diego, California, to raise $10,000 for cancer research at Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Known for his energy and positive outlook, he had been documenting his trip on social media and through YouTube videos he created.

“I’m just a guy pedaling a bicycle to help give children an opportunity just like you and I have,” Dobson wrote on his GoFundMe page, which as of Wednesday evening had exceeded its goal, raising more than $12,400. “I want them to be able to grow old and enjoy all of life’s attractions.”

The crash occurred just before 1 p.m. Tuesday when a Dodge Challenger driven by Hunter Buckley of Columbia, Mississippi, hit Dobson as he rode his recumbent tricycle west on U.S. Route 98 in Lamar County, police told the Hattiesburg American. The area had low visibility at the time because of bad weather and Dobson likely was obscured from Buckley’s view because of a hill on that section of road, police said. Dobson was pronounced dead at the scene.

No charges have been filed, and the crash remains under investigation.

Dobson, who described himself in his videos as “vlogger/smile junky,” posted his final blog entry on Veterans Day. The high-energy video documented his day riding through Alabama, starting with close-up shots of his breakfast and a tour of the unique hotel where he had stayed. He also talked about the money he had raised so far, the surprisingly cold temperatures in Alabama and the “miracle” of the wind blowing with him and not in his face.


In between clips of footage of his views while riding and his commentary on what he was seeing, Dobson included advice for cyclists.

“Keep your eyes up and make sure you are always checking,” he said. “Be careful if you are doing something this close to the road because people do text and drive.”

Dobson also reflected on the significance of seeing the country from his recumbent bike.

“You can take so much more in and it really gives you better perspective than being in your car and racing by everything,” he said. “That’s what we do in life, we race by things and we never stop to look and help somebody or do something for somebody else.”

Dr. Keith Loud, the physician in chief at the Children’s Hospital, issued a statement Wednesday regarding Dobson’s death.

“We here at CHaD are shocked and saddened by the tragic loss of James Dobson. I did not have the pleasure of meeting James, but as an avid cyclist myself, I am moved by not only the dedication but the courage it took to ride across the country in an effort to give back. A self-proclaimed small town regular guy, James was a shining star, and we are honored to have had him shine his light in our direction.”

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:


Twitter: grahamgillian

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