John was a fixture in our community. I first met John several years ago when he stopped by my yard sale to say hello, introduce himself and enjoy some chocolate chip cookies and lemonade Trax had made. Ever since then he'd stop by when he saw me outside or I'd see him at the grocery store or bike shop and very often in the summer at Dairy Queen. He'd always ask me how I was doing. We'd talk about the weather (we were often both on our bikes) and he'd inform me of local Louisville and Lafayette events and happenings. I received news of his death at about 5:15 yesterday while I was riding my bike home. I feel extremely fortunate to have known John. His infectious smile and amazing spirit will be missed by all who knew him.
LAFAYETTE, Colo. — While police were still investigating the tragic death of a pedestrian on U.S. 287 — and hours before the name of the victim was officially released to the public — a small crowd of bystanders had already gathered at the scene, sure they knew who had been killed but hopeful they were wrong.
By late Friday, their fears were confirmed by the coroner. John Breaux, whose warm smile and gentle heart were famous throughout eastern Boulder County, was dead.
It was the bike that gave it away. Breaux was never without his bike, friends said, which on Friday afternoon stood alone, propped on its kickstand at the edge of U.S. 287 near the scene of the accident. Two white trash bags — probably filled with recycling and litter — hung from the handle bars.
“That bike always has the bags on it,” said Mindy Bentley, a longtime Louisville resident who stopped at the accident when she saw the bike. “He’s always picking stuff up whether it’s trash or cans, helping in some way, shape or form.”
Breaux, 57, was on the shoulder of U.S. 287 just north of South Boulder Road when a white PT Cruiser heading north veered off the road and struck him, according to police. The driver, a 62-year-old Boulder woman, was arrested Friday evening, but police have not yet released her name or the reason for the arrest.
They said they are still determining whether drugs or alcohol were involved.
News of Breaux’s death spread quickly throughout eastern Boulder County on Friday. The Camera’s Web site was flooded with stories of Breaux’s generosity: “Always a smile, a wave, a kind word. Everywhere he went he brightened someone’s day,” said one poster. “Thank you for sharing your gigantic heart with us John, you’ll never be forgotten,” wrote another.
Louisville Mayor Chuck Sisk said he knew Breaux and that he was “well-known and well-loved” in the community.
“I’m just stunned,” Sisk said. “It just caught me off guard. I’ve lost a friend.”
Sisk also said that the helmet Breaux wore while riding his bike was given to him by the city of Louisville several years ago because people were concerned that he was riding without a helmet.
“The smile — the appreciation that he received — I’ve got the smile fixed in my mind,” Sisk said.
The city also presented Breaux with a “mayoral proclamation” and a gift certificate to the Louisville Cyclery in 2005 “in appreciation for his efforts to keep Louisville a clean city.”
“He was the real treasure of Louisville,” said Scott Adlfinger, owner of the cyclery, which took care of Breaux’s bike. “It’s going to be a completely different place without him.”