Eighteen-year-old Kyle Scholla was riding on the hood of a car in a Walmart parking lot in Colorado when police said he slipped, fell to the pavement and hit his head.
Eighteen-year-old Kyle Scholla was riding on the hood of a car in a Walmart parking lot when police said he slipped, fell to the pavement and hit his head.
Scholla, a high school football player from Rifle, Colorado, was rushed to St Mary’s Hospital in nearby Grand Junction following the April 1 accident – and for days after, his friends and teammates shared positive thoughts and prayers on the football team’s Facebook page.
But Scholla died over the weekend, drawing renewed attention to the dangerous and deadly game of “car surfing”. His death prompted a Colorado prosecutor’s office to warn against the activity, urging parents to make their children aware of the dangers as Scholla’s family mourned the loss of a boy taken too soon.
“Although his body passed away, his big smile and spirit lives on forever,” the family said. “As a parent it’s wonderful to watch your child grow and become a good person. So, go hug and tell your childrenfamilyfriends you love them everyday.
“For you never know how long the journey of life will be.”
Years ago, researchers from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention examined nearly two decades’ worth of incidents in which injuries resulted from “car surfing,” “skitching” (in which the rider is pulled while riding on a bicycle or skateboard) and “ghost riding” (in which the driver climbs out while the vehicle is still in motion).Police said Scholla was “car surfing” – a thrill-seeking pseudo-sport in which people ride outside vehicles, on hoods, roofs or bumpers.
Out of 99 reported incidents examined, 58 per cent ended in death.
“While car surfing may be appealing to teens and others, our recommendation is simple – don’t do it! Even a vehicle moving at a slow speed can be deadly,” John Halpin, the study’s lead author, said at the time. “Parents should talk to their teens about the dangers of car surfing, especially if they feel that ‘car surfing’ has gained attention and popularity in their community.”
In 2012, then-16-year-old Hannah Huntoon from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, was balancing on a car’s trunk while gripping the rear windshield wiper.
Then, she slipped.
The teen spent weeks in a medically induced coma while doctors removed pieces from her skull to stop her brain from swelling, according to reports.
But she survived and spoke about it later that year, calling for stricter penalties for the drivers who allow surfers to do it.
“I had never heard of car surfing before and I thought it would be fun,” she said, according to NBC affiliate WPTV. “But the girl driving ran a stop sign on a turn and I was thrown off the car.”
After Scholla’s accident in Colorado, police cited the vehicle’s teen driver with careless driving, though 9th Judicial District Attorney Sherry Caloia told the Denver Post that the charges were dismissed.
You never made it about you. It was always about the team.
Police said there was no altercation between Scholla and the driver, and no indication that drugs or alcohol were a factor, according to news
reports. The case is being investigated as an accident.
Caloia, the prosecutor, said she needs to speak to the victim’s family to determine what charges, if any, should be filed.
Following Scholla’s death at the weekend, his friends and teammates at Rifle High School painted a portrait of a young athlete who will be remembered most for his team spirit.
“He was incredibly selfless and I don’t know that there are too many other people like Kyle in the sense that he had a pretty singular determination for other people to experience success,” head football coach Damon Wells said.
His teammates posted a photo on Facebook showing Scholla in his No. 75 uniform with the caption, “Rifle Tough.”
Under the photo, former teammate Alex Gould wrote: “You never made it about you. It was always about the team and if their ever was a guy that cared more about the team than him self it was you buddy. Your smile, laugh, and especially that lions roar of a yell will always be heard and felt on the field. Thank You for letting me be your teammate, friend, and brother out there on the field.
“Rifle tuff. Rest in peace man.”