2011 Skateboarding Fatalities


2011 USA Skateboarding Fatality Reports

There simply aren’t enough good skateparks or skateboarding venues in America.

Skateboarders need safe places to skate. We hope that these figures of our 2011 USA skateboarding fatality report illuminates the gravity of this tragic problem.

As skateboarding continues to increase in popularity in America we know that skateparks and venues set aside for safe skating are the best way to encourage this healthy activity in the safest possible way. However, relatively few communities have accessible skateparks, and fewer still have skateparks that offer compelling terrain and are large enough to accommodate all of the nearby users. When there are no skateboarding venues, skaters practice wherever they can such as along rural roads instead of on driveways, or in public parking lots instead of skateparks. If a skatepark is poorly built, it doesn’t retain their interest and challenge participants. If the skatepark is well designed and constructed, it gets a lot more use.

Experienced skateboarders also enjoy using their skateboards whenever possible, and will skate to and from work, school, parks, shopping…a great way to stay “green” as well as be fit. We are sure that you know someone who skates, or you have seen skateboarders – we are more common than you think!

As skateboarders we accept the risk of injury every time we step on a board and usually do a great job of skating within the limits of our abilities. In our report these skateboarders all believed that what they were doing was within their acceptable level of risk taking.

Not everyone skateboards competitively. Some people skateboard for transportation, others for the recreation and freedom of expressing themselves in a movement art that has all the best benefits of physical and mental exercise. It is an activity that encompasses all ages, genders and races worldwide.

This report is not a mere list of skateboarders in the wrong place at the wrong time. This report of USA fatalities may mention some of the factors involved. These factors include the differing types of skateboards used, the activity the rider was doing on the board, as well as the skating venue. We list the skater’s name, age, and basic details of the situation that lead to the accident. We also provide one of the numerous online links reporting the accident.

Throughout 2011 Skaters for Public Skateparks (SPS) tracked several aspects of skateboarding activity including skateboard-related fatalities as reported in the media, online sources, and other publishing sources. It is not guaranteed to be completely accurate.

This subject matter requires sympathy, compassion and delicacy. We want to express our heartfelt condolences to the families of those listed in this report. We hope that the media will use better details in explaining what happened, using facts instead of emotion to report such tragic events. We hope that all skateboarders will consider becoming more aware in their skateboarding activities. We hope this report will assist in making skateboarding safer for all.

If you have any wish to discuss this article, add information, inform us of corrections, please request for Teresa to contact you by writing a note at the bottom of this article.  Should you use our statistics and reports, make sure you credit us, Skaters For Public Skateparks,

Respectfully, Teresa Waters and SPS

Skaters For Public Skateparks, Teresa Waters

Reports – Table of Contents: …………………..…………………………

Skateboarding Equipment Terminology – including a short definition of the vocabulary used to describe the most common types of skateboards this report uses. Some pictures provided. 

Skateboarding Activity Terminology – definitions of the disciplines this report uses.

Fatalities by the type of skateboard riden – a list by skateboard type only.

Fatalities by the skateboarding activity – a list by skateboarding activity only.

Fatalities by State – a list of the number of deaths by State.

Fatalities by Age – the number of deaths by age.

Fatalities by Location / Venue – a list of where the accident occurred.

Fatalities by Gender

Fatalities List – a list of the skateboarders’ names, ages, city, State, what happened, and an online source.

Fatalities Conclusion




Equipment Terminology…………………………………………………………….

old school and new school short skateboards

There are 4 types of skateboard decks and setups:

 1. Short boards

Used primarily in transistion skating and street skating, these short decks are lightweight, easy to jump with, and pivot quickly. Narrow trucks and a short length to the deck provide a light and highly responsive skateboard. Shortboards are very common in skateparks. Many parents are unaware that the toy versions of short boards sold at big chain stores, toy stores, and franchise sporting goods stores are actually very unsafe, with poorly constructed wood decks of brittle woods and hard plastic wheels or even plastic trucks. A safe short board setup will start at $75, unlike the toys which start at $20. Most shortboarders will wear protection according to their needs or the rules of their skate venue.

2. Slalom boardsslalom board

A sport specific board that is longer than a short board, but shorter than a long board, these decks are akin to the late 80’s pool decks that provide a nice wide platform to stand on while being easy to manuver for sweeping turns and tight carves. A custom setup will provide the expert rider with reponsive carving ability due to sport specific trucks, bushings, wedges and wheels. If you see one it is most likely being used on a derby hill carving graceful curves and arcs, or in tight and fast lines. A starter sport setup will start at about $225. Most slalom riders wear helmets, kneepads, and other appropriate padding at all times. All slalom competitions require helmets and sometimes also knee and elbow protection.

3. Long boards  

These decks are very long, sometimes as long as the skater is tall, providing a low center of gravity and ease of cruising ability for the rider. Wide trucks and large, soft wheels offer the rider the ability to skate over rough terrain and maintain a stable platform that is extremely difficult to upset. These boards are very common for skaters who use these for transportation. These usually start at about $160. The easiest of the boards for the beginner to start on, long boards are excellent for use on bike paths, boardwalks, fitness trails, and sidewalks for recreation and slow transportation. Most long boarders do not use any protection at all when riding.

4. Downhill boards

Jeff Tatum's custom boards and skateboarding gear– A sport specific board that provides all the benefits of a long board, plus added shaping and increased durability of the deck to withstand speeds of upwards of 60 mph. These boards will be customized by the athlete to eliminate truck vibration (have speed wobble dampening), have wide and grippy wheels, and a responsive – yet stable – carving ability for the expert rider. These top of the line boards are used by expert skateboarders and usually start at about $340 for a decent setup. All downhill competitions require athletes wear full face helmets. Most downhill athletes also wear a full leather suit, and appropriate knee and arm protection at all times when “bombing” a hill.

 Click here for a photo album of different types of skateboards in more detail. 

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Skateboarding Activity Terminology ——————————————————

There are 4 types of skateboarding techniques used to generate movement by the rider.

  1. Bombing – When skateboarder’s goal is to speed down a hill or very long path in a straight line, with gravity generating the rolling movement of the skateboarder. Bombing can be performed recreationally or as a sport in any area that provides an incline of more than 25 feet in length and upwards of many miles. It is outlawed in most of America outside of specific skateboarding venues. When at speed in excess of 5 mph, the bomber will control speed of decent with power sliding, hand sliding, and foot breaking. Bombing should only be performed by trained skateboarders on longboards specifically set up to prevent any speed wobbles or wheel bite. Bombing is an activity where body and full head protection should be worn. (Example of Downhill athletes practicing bombs and slides on downhill boards

  1. Street – When a skateboarder’s goal is to get from point a to point b, on flat or somewhat broken terrain, at a leisurely pace. Recreationally, depending on the skateboarder’s ability and equipment, street skating may include jumping, grinding, power sliding, pivoting as well as basic rolling. Movement is primary generated by the skater pushing against the ground with the foot that is off the board.  It is safe and easy to jump or run out of street skating techniques, as this type of skating does not generate high speeds. Hip and tailbone protection and light weight skull cap helmets are recommended for beginner street skateboarders. (Example of street skating.) 

  1. Transitions – Skating on a curved radius including bowls, pools, half pipes or other obstacles that a skateboarder can roll on with the intent of rolling and landing on said obstacles for the purpose of having fun. Generating energy for movement, the skater keeps both feet on the skate board and increases speed by pumping vertically or horizontally on the transition.  Knee pads and light weight cap helmets are recommended. (Example of transition skateboarding.

  1. Skitching – Skating while holding onto a vehicle which tows the skateboarder. Illegal in every State.

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Fatalities by the Type of Skateboard Ridden  (total = 42)

Longboards involved in a 2011 fatality


Shortboards involved in a 2011 fatality


Slalom / pool board involved


Downhill board involved




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Fatalities by the Skateboarding Activity….………………

*These statistics are best guesses based on the place of accident, what the skateboarder was doing at the time of the accident, and what the source reports state as cause of death.


Died while Bombing


Died while skateboarding Street


Died while Skitching


Died while skating Transition


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Fatalities by State……………………………………………………………

California = 11 fatalities

Texas = 4 fatalities

Virginia = 3 fatalities

States with 2 fatalities in each: = 10 fatalities; Georgia, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Oregon.

States with 1 fatality in each: = 14 fatalities; Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin.

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Fatalities by Age……………………………………………………………..

12 years old:


13 – 18 years old:


19 – 24 years old:


25 years and older:


Total fatalities:


The youngest fatality was 12 years old

The eldest fatality was 35 years old.

Seven of the fatalities were 15 years old. This is the spike in the “by Age” report.

The average age of a skateboarding fatality in 2011 is 17 years old.

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By Location…………………………………………………………………..

Within a skatepark:

1 skateboarder

Outside of a skatepark:

41 skateboarders

On a public street:

40 skateboarders

Off a public street:

2 skateboarders

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By Gender……………………………………………………………….

Male Fatalities:

40 fatalities

Female Fatalities:

2 fatalities Kate, Alix

Total for 2011:

42 fatalities

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Skateboarding Fatalities List 2011………………..………………………

1.) Jamison Tuckett (15 years old, Layton, Utah)

Hit by a vehicle while on his long board.


2. Jordan Weiss (17 years old, Sherman Oaks, California)

Fell while bombing a hill on his skateboard during the day.


3.) Meshach Queen (17 years old, Columbus,Ohio)

Hit by an SUV at night along an unlit rural road.


4.) Trevor Ryan Searle (18 years old, Travis County, Texas)

Fell while skitching with his downhill team mates.


5.) Riley Henry (17 years old,  Middletown, Indiana)

Hit by a pickup truck while skating at night.


6.) Jacob Gutierrez (15 years old, Bloomington, California)

Hit and run by a truck in the afternoon.


7.) Joe Hyland (24 years old, Santa Rosa, California)

  Hit by a vehicle.


8.)  Jesse Joseph Sawyer (16 years old, Groves, Texas)

 Hit by an SUV at night.


9.) Shashwat Sharma (16 years old, Ashburn, Virginia)

Fell while street skating on his short board.


10.) Heath Eiland (16 years old, Austin, Texas)

Fell while bombing a highway embankment.


11.) Anthony Briffa (19 years old, Brick, New Jersey)

Hit by a vehicle at night.


12.) Keegan Scott Clinger (21 years old, Lenordtown, Maryland)

Hit by a vehicle.


13.) Graham Bultemeier (21 years old, Los Alamos, NM)

Fell while bombing down a hill.


14.) Edward Culhane (35 years old, Santa Clarita, California)

Fell while skitching.


15.) Jeffery Todd McAbee  (22 years old, Gafnee, South Carolina)

Hit by a vehicle.


16.)  Tyler Seay (16 years old, Dawsonville, Georgia)

Hit by a vehicle.


17.)  Forest Andrews (18 years old, Hood River, Oregon)

Fell while skating down a hill.


18.)  Larry Moore (24 years old, Porterville, California)

Hit by a vehicle.


19.)  Alexandria “Alix” Rice (18 years old, Amhurst, New York)

Hit and run by a car at night.


20.)  Scotty O’Connor (20 years old, Hillsboro, Oregon)

Fell while bombing a hill.


21.)  Yunze Sun (15 years old, Crozet, Virginia)

Hit by a vehicle.


22.) Calvin Kelley (15 years old, Knoxville, Tennesse)

Fell at a skatepark on his short board.


23.) Jacob Nouskhajian (15 years old, Panama City, Florida)

Hit by a vehicle.


24.) Seth Dunn (20 years old, Cayucos, California)

Fell while skating down a hill.


25.)  Nicholas Silva-Thomas (17 years old, Taunton, Massachucetts)

Hit by a vehicle.


26.)  Johnathan Olagues (12 years old, Rialto, CA)

Hit by a vehicle.


27.)  Brett Bertsch (18 years old, Mammoth Lakes, California)

Fell while skating down a hill on his long board.


28.)  Mark Harding Jr. (14 years old, College Station, Texas)

Hit by a DPS car while street skating at night across a rural freeway.


29.)  Dillon Lee Coggeshall (21 years old, Tulsa, Oklahoma)

Hit by a vehicle.


30.) Jared West (15 years old, Delmar, Delaware)

Hit by a vehicle.


31.) Brandon Reese (16 years old,  Port Deposit, Maryland)

Hit by a vehicle.


32.) Kate Mausteller (22 years old, Harrisonburg, Virginia)

Fell while skating down a hill.


33.)  Oleksandr Safronov (15 years old, Long Island, New York)

Hit by a vehicle.


34.) Michael John Manzari (21 years old, Wilmington, North Carolina)

Hit by a vehicle.


35.) Olando Coleman (19 years old, Columbus, Ohio)

Hit by a vehicle.


36.) J. Tafoya  III (12 years old, Vallejo, California)

Hit by a garbage truck while bombing a hill in his neighborhood.


37.) Philip Kyle Lee (14 years old, Cairo, Georgia)

Hit by a vehicle.


38.) Will Abrisch (14 years old, York, Pennsylvania)

Hit by a vehicle.


39.)  Matthew Parish (17 years old, El Cajon, California)

Hit by a vehicle.


40.) Dominik Halling (17 years old, La Crosse, Wisconsin)

Hit by a vehicle.



41.) Michael Borojevich   (14 years old, San Pedro, California)

He fell and suffered head trauma, died 11 days after his accident.



42.)    Kameron Steinhoff   (21 years old, Kaneohe, Hawaii)

Fell while bombing a hill.

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In Conclusion………………………………………………..

Communities across the nation are realizing the value of skateparks as a safe place, vehicle free, where skateboarding is accepted as a healthy, positive recreational choice. In a society that is staggering under its own obesity (and the fact that traditional sports participation is in steady decline) it is paramount we realign our communal view of what healthy activity is and provide adequate facilities for these activities.

Skaters For Public Skateparks, teresa Waters


This research supports a view that most skateboarders share through personal observation;  when combined with an extenuating circumstance like vehicular traffic and unsafe terrain skateboarding can become deadly.

Skaters For Public Skateparks, Teresa

In 2011, of the 42 skateboard related fatalities, 27 skateboarders were struck and killed by vehicles.  A total of 30 fatalities involved a vehicle in some manner.  Some of the fatalities were hit and run incidents, many involved drunk drivers and / or texting drivers, one was even a State trooper vehicle.

Skaters For Public Skateparks, Teresa
The youngest death was a 12 year old boy who could not stop his skateboard from going under a garbage truck that crossed his path while he and another child laid back on the board as they bombed (speeding down a hill) a neighborhood sidewalk, unviewable by the driver who was traumatized by the accident when the children rolled into a street intersection. The oldest death was a 35 year old man who fell off his board while “skitching” (holding on to a moving car). The average age of the forty skateboarding deaths in 2011 was 18. The majority of the fatalities were only 15 years old.

Skaters For Public Skateparks, Teresa Waters,Teresa Waters

California suffered 11 fatalities, of which 6 (55% ) were caused by a vehicle.

Texas suffered 4 fatalities, of which 2 ( 50%) were caused by a vehicle.

Virginia suffered 3 fatalities, 1 (33%) of which was caused by a vehicle.

Georgia, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Oregon suffered 2 fatalities each, of which all (100%) were caused by a vehicle.

30 of the 42 skateboarding fatalities for 2011 involved a vehicle,

that’s 71% involving a vehicle.

Skaters For Public Skateparks

71% of the 2011 Skater Fatalities involved a vehicle. Of the 30 fatalities that involved a vehicle, all of them were on a public street or public bike lane.  Some were at night, some were during the day. Most could have been prevented if one of the parties involved (usually the vehicle) had just proceeded with caution. Also, since not only head trauma, but blunt force trauma to the body had occurred in these collisions, it is evident that no amount of body or head
protection could completely protect a cautious skateboarder from death when hit by a vehicle.

Body armor is not the only thing that can save lives. The different types of skateboarding disciplines require specialized body and head protection,  equipment, and techniques that would actually be a hinderance in other disciplines. We estimate that at least 11 (26%) of the 42 fatalities for 2011 may have been prevented if the skateboarder had a helmet on at the time of their accident. It is difficult to say, as most helmets actually do not provide any facial protection and some of the skaters fell forward, not backward. It is clear that at least 2 (5%) of the fatalities definitely would have been prevented had the skater worn a helmet, as these were falls backward, not forward. (Shashwat Sharma and Calvin Kelley.)  26% to 5% is a big spread in those statistics, but we do know that head protection from skull fractures and concussive trauma can be greatly improved with the use of a skateboarding discipline – appropriate helmet. 

On a side note;

Much misinformation about the need for helmets for skateboarding is on the internet, as are many skewed statistics.   The statistics are skewed because they include rollerskating, inline skating, scooters, and ripsticks along with skateboarding in some hospital reports!  Also, according to http://www.aans.org/Patient%20Information/Conditions%20and%20Treatments/Sports-Related%20Head%20Injury.aspx, a participant in Bicycling, Football, Baseball, Softball, Basketball, [Race and Competitive] Diving, Scuba Diving, Surfing, Swimming, Water Polo, Water Skiing, Water Tubing, Soccer, and Driving powered recreational vehicles are more likely to suffer head injuries than a skateboarder.  

The many factors involved for safe skateboarding require mentoring and education to new skaters in order to reduce the amount of injuries and fatalities in this activity.  Also, most of the skaters who were hit by a vehicle suffered critical bodily injuries. It also appears that at least 6 (14% ) of the skateboarding fatalities may have simply been unaware of how to maintain and handle the equipment they were riding. Simple education and mentoring may have prevented these deaths.

Even with an abundance of caution, skateboarders need safe venues for skating that avoid the possibility of interaction with a vehicle. Safe skateparks for recreation and skater access to bike lanes, sidewalks, and safe transportation options away from vehicle traffic will go a long way toward reducing skater fatalities while encouraging this healthy and exciting activity.

Skaters For Public Skateparks, Teresa Waters Skateparks, Teresa Waters

Please, support your local skateboarders and lobby your Governments to build skateparks to keep our skateboarding communities safe and active.Get started and join us.

Keep skateboarding alive;

if you drive, slow down and go around!

Skateboarders: Be Bright, Wear Lights!

Skaters For Public Skateparks, Teresa Waters

Skaters for Public Skateparks Research Committee

This report may be reprinted without SPS consent. Please credit Skaters for Public Skateparks’s Research
2011 Director Teresa Waters, Content Coordinator

Skaters For
Public Skateparks, Teresa Waters
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