The Edmond Sun

Local News

April 10, 2013

Parents of car surfing victim speak out

Dad: ‘It’s the telephone call that no parent wants to get’

EDMOND — It was a about 8 p.m. March 22, a Friday, when Shelley Smith answered the phone from a number she didn’t recognize.

Police officers and other first responders were in the 2000 block of Running Branch Road where they found two teens lying in the street, according to an incident report filed by Officer Danny Austill. Fire and EMSA personnel were tending to the victims.

The teens had been riding on the outside of a Chevrolet Blazer, the report stated. One had been on the rear bumper holding onto a luggage rack. The other had been lying on the roof.

Officers took measurements and calculated the vehicle was traveling somewhere between 48-50 mph in the residential neighborhood, the report stated. After being ejected and tumbling away from the vehicle, Luke Smith, 14, collided with a mailbox. The impact left scuff marks from his jeans.

Phil Smith, Shelley’s husband and Luke’s father, said it was the telephone call no parent wants to get. The caller said they were at the scene of an accident and their son Luke was on the way to the hospital in an ambulance. Shelley called 911 and found out he was being transported to OU Medical Center, what Phil called the best trauma center of its kind in the state.

“That’s the kind of care he needed,” he said, his wife standing at his side as they spoke to reporters Wednesday morning at the Pediatric Medical Rehab Unit at The Children’s Center in Bethany. “Everything beyond that was a blur. I think we went into shock.”

At the hospital they were briefed about Luke’s injuries. They had no idea about their son’s prognosis or possibilities. That night, doctors performed an emergency procedure to relieve the pressure on Luke’s brain from a head injury. The next day he was stable enough to have his femur repaired.

It was not until Sunday afternoon that they were able to reduce Luke’s sedation level and bring him out of unconsciousness.

“We knew that he knew who he was and that he knew who we were,” Phil said, visibly struggling with the emotions related to retelling the story. “And every fear that we had at that point, for me, turned into extreme gratitude. We know that we still have a lot of work to do. But we know that the possibility of a full recovery is there.”

OU Physicians Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon T.R. Lewis said the type of injuries Luke suffered would be on par with those from a high-speed crash on an interstate, or if someone rolled their car down an embankment or fell from a very high height.

Falling from a car at a high rate of speed compounds the type of injuries, Lewis said. Luke broke his hand, his pelvis, his left femur, a substantial injury in and of itself, and he suffered a ligament issue in his left ankle. All those things complicate his rehabilitation, Lewis said.

“In general we have to advise our kids that they’re in charge of very dangerous toys lots of times whether that be a car or an ATV or a side-by-side utility vehicle,” Lewis said. “All those can result in lethal force against a young body.”

Jennifer Parrott, pediatric trauma program coordinator at The Children’s Center, said if someone escapes from car surfing with a few broken bones or abrasions they are lucky. Parrott said Luke’s injuries are to be expected from this type of activity.

“Anything less than that you’re very lucky to get away with,” Parrott said.

Justin Ramsey, M.D., a physician at The Children’s Center, said his expectation at the time of the accident would have been Luke would need multiple tests and multiple interventions.

“But Luke is doing extremely well,” Ramsey said.

Phil said he and Shelley owe a debt of thanks to the first responders who were at the scene, the medical staff at OU Medical Center and staff at The Children’s Center. He also thanked those who spread the word about the accident, resulting in thousands of prayers being said for the family.

“We believe that that has really made a difference in this entire story, what I have to call our miracle,” he said.

According to an article published in “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report” since 1990 at least 99 people have died or sustained serious injuries as a result of car surfing.  

The second victim remained unconscious for 16 days before opening his eyes, Austill stated. At last check, he remained in critical condition in the intensive care unit. A number of teens were in the vehicle at the time of the incident. In a previous report, spokeswoman Jenny Monroe said the Edmond Police Department would be exploring possible criminal charges with the district attorney this week. | 341-2121, ext. 108

Text Only
Local News
  • Edmond School District’s change orders anticipated

    When building new schools and classrooms there may be additional costs, but when renovating older buildings those costs can more than double, according to a Edmond School District official.
    “When remodeling, you have unknown and hidden costs and you need to include in your budgeted funds for the built-in items you can not see,” said Bret Towne, Edmond’s associate superintendent of general administration.

    July 25, 2014

  • OC welcomes missionary, military families

    For the ninth consecutive year Oklahoma Christian University will host missionary and military families returning to the United States at Global Reunion 2014.
    The July 23-27 camp has doubled in size in the last two years with 150 participants from 43 countries on campus.
    The camp is for children who are known as Third Culture Kids (TCKs) though parents are allowed to attend sessions as well. Directors Kent and Nancy Hartman, missionaries-in-residence at OC, give tools and resources to families that have lived outside the United States and are now seeking to reenter U.S. culture. The Hartmans spent more than 10 years as missionaries in Australia and were surprised by the challenges of reintegrating their family into America.

    July 25, 2014

  • Planning Commission approves rezoning

    The Edmond Planning Commission this week voted 4-0 in favor of rezoning from a single family district.  Peter and Kimberly Roberts made the request to allow a planned unit development on the southeast corner of Jackson and Lincoln Avenue, said Bob Schiermeyer, city planner.
    “They would like to have D-2 family (neighborhood commercial) zoning for duplexes, 14,000 square feet,” Schiermeyer said. “They can put four units on the property.”

    July 25, 2014

  • Out of the stressful wreckage: Scholarships for car crash victims

    After the dust has settled, the injuries have healed and there’s a replacement car in the driveway, victims of automobile accidents often still face an uphill battle trying to move on with their lives. According to psychologists, for some the fear never really goes away. It’s common enough that the National Institutes of Health gives physicians specific recommendations for patients exhibiting acute stress symptoms and PTSD after motor vehicle accidents. With more than 3 million injury accidents a year nationwide, the San Francisco Bay Area personal injury law firm Appel Law Firm LLP, sees their share of the aftermath — only they decided to do something about it.

    July 25, 2014

  • Agencies ask for volunteers to support grandparents who raise grandchildren

    Local law enforcement agencies are helping Sunbeam Family Services provide much-needed school supplies to grandparents who are faced with the challenge of raising their grandchildren. According to a recent census poll, there are nearly three million grandparents raising more than five million grandchildren in the United States.

    July 25, 2014

  • 7-26 YARD OF THE WEEK.jpg Ganns earn Yard of the Week honors

    This week’s “Edmond Yard of the Week” winner has been in existence for 44 years at 105 Barbara Drive, but looks fresh and new thanks to longtime residents Betty and Gordon Gann as they fill their garden spaces to overflowing with colors and textures.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • IMG_2996.JPG Krazy Daze hits downtown Edmond

    Newly transplanted Edmond residents Hannah Brenning, Cheyenne Middle School 8th grader; Jordan Brenning, Cross Timbers 4th grader; and Sydney Brenning, North High School freshman; check out the items in front of Sterling's in downtown Edmond during the Krazy Daze Sale lasting through Saturday. Businesses will open their doors at 10 a.m. and close at 5:30 p.m.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • MS_weather graphic 1.jpg Chances for rain to follow triple-digit highs

    Chances for rain on multiple days will follow near triple-digit highs during the weekend.
    A National Weather Service-issued heat advisory is in effect until 7 p.m. Saturday and afternoon temperatures are expected to top out in the upper 90s to lower 100s into the weekend. Maximum heat-index values will range from the upper 90s to 105-110 degrees through Sunday.
    Cooler weather is expected next week as a strong cold front passes over the region.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Candidates disagree with White House’s minimum wage

    Gubernatorial candidate Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, said the state needs to have serious growth in high-paying living wage jobs that will provide for Oklahomans.
    Dorman cautioned that while Oklahoma’s jobless rate improved in June, the state’s rankings for the well-being of children has dropped from 36th to 39th place, for one of the largest declines in the U.S., according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Project.
    The unemployment rate in June dropped to 4.5 percent, down a percentage point from 4.6 percent in May, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, Gov. Mary Fallin said this week.
    The state’s unemployment rate was more than 7 percent when Fallin was elected during the brink of the Great Depression. Alex Weintz, communications director for Fallin, pointed out that per capita income in Oklahoma was second in the nation from 2011 to 2013.
    The non partisan Congressional Budget office reported in February that raising the minimum wage could kill a half-million jobs in the United States.
    According to The Washington Times, CBO analysts reported, “Once the other changes in income were taken into account, families whose income would be below six times the poverty threshold under current law would see a small increase in income, on net, and families whose income would be higher under current law would see reductions in income, on net.”
    President Barack Obama in February signed an executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour.
    Weintz said the governor believes tax cuts have enabled families to keep more of their money.
    No one is talking about the under-employment rate of families working minimum wage jobs, Dorman said.
    “It’s all fine and good when you have fast-food jobs that don’t cover the bills and that counts toward your unemployment rate.”
    Oklahoma’s minimum wage reflects the federal minimum wage set at $7.25 an hour, a standard set in 2009.
    Fallin signed legislation this year to prohibit municipalities from raising their local minimum wage above $7.25 an hour.
    “If the minimum wage goes up to $15 in Oklahoma City, all of the sudden you would drive retail, business, service industry locations outside of the city limits and that would be detrimental to the economy, consumers and to businesses,” Weintz said.
    Fallin has said that she opposes raising the minimum wage in Oklahoma because it would stifle job growth for small business and lay off workers. A lot of people earning the $7.25 minimum wage are part-time workers and many of them are students, Weintz said.
    “We believe raising the minimum wage is not a good way to address poverty,” Weintz said. “A lot of people earning the minimum wage are actually people living with their parents or other people who are employed full time, and in many cases they are middle class families. So it’s not a good tool to reduce poverty.”
    Dorman said he does not necessarily support the proposed $10.10 an hour minimum federal minimum wage that is being discussed by Congress.
    “I think we need to have a living wage in Oklahoma that is reflective of our economy,” Dorman said.
    About 102,300 jobs have been added in Oklahoma since Fallin took office in January 2011, according to her office.
    The cost of living in the national economy tends to be higher in some other states, Dorman said.
    So a minimum wage increase should be tied to economic gains so that families can pay their bills and afford to care for their children, Dorman said.
    Independent candidates for governor include Richard Prawdzienski of Edmond, Joe Sills of Oklahoma City and Kimberly Willis of Oklahoma City.

    July 24, 2014

  • Forced Entry 1 Firefighters sharpen forced entry skills

    Of all burglaries, 60.5 percent involved forcible entry, according to recent FBI statistics.
    As a result, many home and businesses are installing a greater number of complex mechanisms on their doors and windows. Edmond Fire Maj. Joe Elam said 10 local firefighters recently sharpened their skills during a forcible entry class offered by IRONS and LADDERS, LLC., of Lawrence, Kan.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

Featured Ads
NDN Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot

If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
     View Results