WELLFLEET — Jeffrey Richardson, 59, of Brookfield, Conn. died on July 11 at Cape Cod Hospital after what the Wellfleet police called “a possible hit and run accident” on Route 6 the night before.
A report by Officer Laecio De Oliveira said police were called at 9:41 on the rainy evening of July 10 and found Richardson “lying unresponsive on Route 6 with visible severe head injuries.” CPR was administered by police and rescue personnel “within minutes of the call,” and police requested a med flight to Boston, which was “unavailable due to weather conditions.”
Richardson was taken to the hospital in Hyannis by the Wellfleet ambulance squad.
Police said the incident happened “near Joshua Lane,” a small road on the east side of the highway just north of Cove Road. Their report states that police are “specifically looking for any vehicle with damage to the passenger side, including the passenger side mirror.” The suspected hit-and-run driver was apparently traveling north toward Provincetown.
The accident is under active investigation, the report stated, and “the public is urged to report any information they may have regarding this case to the department.”
Richardson taught music at John Jay High School in Cross River, N.Y. from 1987 to his retirement in 2019, said his wife, Melissa, a music teacher at Meadow Pond Elementary School in South Salem, N.Y. The couple has two children, Liam, 24, and Mariel, 21.
Melissa said they have vacationed in Wellfleet for over 30 years. “The first place we went on vacation was Wellfleet,” she said. “We just fell in love with it.”
Melissa said her husband was walking back to the house where they were staying after a meeting in town when he was struck by a car. That night, she said, “I watched TV and went to bed. The next thing I know, the police are calling me from Jeff’s phone.”
She was alone, with her daughter planning to arrive the next day. She drove herself to the hospital, she said, where she found her husband on life support. His organs were donated before he was taken off life support, she said.
She criticized the police report. “There were not many details, and they spelled his name wrong,” she said. “Two people called the cops, and one said that they saw him stagger. And then the next call, which came within 15 seconds, said they saw him on the ground,” she said. “If those two people saw him, then there had to be somebody else who saw it.”
The Wellfleet police declined a request for further information about the incident, citing the ongoing investigation.
Melissa said her husband was extraordinarily generous and dedicated to his students. “He always gave students extra help,” she said.
“He was the consummate master teacher,” said Stephen Morse, a former colleague of Jeffrey’s at John Jay. “Whenever students had a difficult time, his room was always a place of comfort.”
Sam Kuhn, a 2010 John Jay graduate and saxophone player in the school band, described Jeffrey as “incredibly compassionate, fun, and intelligent. Everyone loved him. He was an inspiration to a lot of kids who might have been having a tough time in school. He made them feel like they had a place to go and feel welcomed, safe, and creative.”
Melissa said there will be a celebration of life for Jeffrey at a time to be announced but for now she is hoping her family will get some answers.
“It’s just so ironic that we would be in that place that makes us so happy with so many memories attached,” she said, “and somebody would just clip him on the side of the road and drive away.”