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Car surfing accident cases are increasing in Southern California. An Ojai teen is the latest victim. An Orange County accident lawyer discusses how prevalent this dangerous behavior is becoming.

Last Sunday evening, 18-year-old Cody Doolittle decided to “surf” an Ojai highway with some friends. Instead of surfboards, they used skateboards. To replace the thrill of riding waves, they held onto the back of their friend’s Jeep as he drove down Cuyama Road. Doolittle flew off of his skateboard after it collided with the Jeep’s back tire. He died at the scene of the accident from the head injuries he sustained.  Another teen was seriously injured after car surfing in the Ventura area just two months prior. Car surfing, explains an Orange County accident lawyer, is not only extremely dangerous, it is more common than many parents may think.  


Car surfing has many variations: individuals may literally use the hood of a moving car as a surfboard, which recently occurred in Malibu, where 18-year-old Johnny Strange climbed from the passenger window of a BMW driving 50 miles an hour on Pacific Coast Highway. An individual may ride in the truck of the car, a form of car surfing known as “trunk riding,” an activity that took the life of a 14-year-old Lake Forest boy last June. Being pulled by a car while riding on a skateboard, a sled, or even a Christmas tree is among the most common forms of car surfing—and also the one that led to Cody Doolittle’s fatal head injuries.


Serious or fatal head injuries often result from car surfing accidents, explains an Orange County accident lawyer. Of the 99 car surfing accidents resulting in injuries recorded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, between 1990 and 2008, 58 percent resulted in fatalities, 78 percent of which were attributed to head trauma. The CDC also noted that incidents of car surfing resulting in injury increased during this time period, with males accounting for 70 of the 99 injuries. 69 percent of the injuries were sustained by individuals between the ages of 15 and 19 years old. 


Car surfing can have grave consequences for everyone involved: serious or fatal injuries to the person “surfing” on the car and felony charges for the driver. The 17-year-old driver in the Lake Forest “trunk riding” case was charged with felony hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter. In Ventura, authorities are still deciding whether or not to file charges against the 18-year-old driver of the Jeep that was pulling Doolittle before his death. In both of these cases, the parents of the deceased teens may also choose to file charges against the drivers, in which case, they will want to discuss their rights with a California injury lawyer. 


James Ballidis is an Orange County accident lawyer and the author of several books written to help accident victims select the right personal injury lawyer for their case. If you need legal advice or would like to request a copy of one of his books, feel free to call 866-981-5596.


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