SEE UPDATE AND PLANS FOR MEMORIAL HERE.
OCEAN BEACH, CA. This morning, the San Diego Union-Tribune ran a brief story of the death of an Ocean Beach musician and school teacher, Don Truesdail, who was killed by a truck on Interstate 5, the morning of Tuesday, January 13th. Unfortunately, the paper reported that Truesdail, 34, had jumped in front of a truck, with the implication that he had committed suicide.
The only word that Truesdail had committed suicide was this:
Investigators said witnesses called 911 after seeing a man on the freeway shoulder jump in front of a truck. The driver, who pulled over after the accident, was not injured.
Ever since the story appeared on the U-T’s online version, comments have poured in from Don’s friends and family, outraged at the suggestion that he had killed himself.
The U-T did report that “Truesdail wrote folk-rock music, played the double bass and performed in local venues such as Portugalia on Newport Avenue.” Truesdail was also a music teacher at Ralph Dailard Elementary School in the Lake Murray area, and Mar Vista Middle and High School in the South Bay. He lived in Ocean Beach with his wife, Nancy.
In her comment to the SignOnSanDiego article, Don’s sister wrote:
My entire family is shocked and disgusted at the spin of this article. There is other evidence that isn’t mentioned in the article, like that his car was clearly hit. Who hit his car? We don’t know. Who was the witness? The only “witness” that we know if is the person driving the truck that hit him. Why would he have gotten out of his car? We don’t know! I am disgusted that a newspaper, presumably trying to give the TRUTH of the story, would imply that someone committed suicide when that is clearly NOT the case. To the coroners office, my brother may have been merely “case number 09-00102”, but to his family who is shocked at the loss of a loving, beautiful, genius of a man, he was our “Donnie”. We do not want him remembered in print as a “pedestrian who jumped in front of a truck.” It is simply NOT true.
He was a very talented musician, an incredibly loving husband to Nancy, and one of the most genuine and intelligent people I have known. Anyone that knew Don and Nancy would report that it is simply unbelievable that he would do such a thing on purpose, which is what this story implies. I don’t believe this story has been researched well enough to publish. It seems not only incomplete, but inaccurate. While I was not a witness, I am a journalist and would never publish this type of story — for all his friends, family, and students to read — without all of my facts checked.
A senior student of his at Mar Vista wrote:
He was my choir teacher and to know that the news and articles are saying that it was a suicide really hurts me and my classmates. I may have only known Mr. Truesdail for about four months but I know enough to know that he would never do such a thing. I know that this case is under investigation and I hope that they get their facts straight because his family and friends know that he would have never been capable of doing this to himself. … No matter what I’m always going to have him in my heart. He inspired me in so many different ways and a person like him deserves to be remembered for ever. I’m going to always remember all the songs he taught me and what a wonderful person he was. I am truly sorry to his family members and wife but i feel so lucky to have ever met such a great man. I will always love u Mr. Truesdail. God rest your soul and forever keep you in our hearts.
Finally, in comments to the U-T reporter, Don’s mother-in-law wrote:
I have flown in from NY to console my daughter at the lost of her husband. I am shocked at the irresponsibility of your journalism. All of his friends and family are mourning his loss. The police are still investigating the accident and the report is not available, even to the family. We clearly see damage to the front of his vehicle and he was probably trying to check it out when he was fatally hit. We don’t have all the facts of that day, but to say in your article that he intentionally jumped in front of a truck for all to read without knowing the facts is to slander his good reputation.
While we all wait for an apology to Don Truesdail’s family, if you would like to hear a sample of his music, go to his myspace here.