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
  • Oak Tree Official offers glowing update on Senior Open

    An official who has been in charge of tournaments since 2001 said the 2014 U.S. Senior Open is probably the best city event partnership he has seen.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Edmond soldier settles in housing benefits case

    U.S. Attorney Sanford C. Coats said Thursday a U.S. Army reserve soldier from Edmond has agreed to pay the government $20,000 to settle civil claims related to obtaining fraudulent housing benefits.

    April 17, 2014

  • Stevenson 1 Oklahoman returns home focused on pro-gay agenda

    Troy Stevenson remembers the day when football players discovered him and his boyfriend holding hands behind an Edmond high school. After they had been chased off school property, Stevenson, called to check on his boyfriend.
    “He was in hysterics,” Stevenson said. “… Like me, I thought he was scared. Did people see us? What would people think?”

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lawn Experts’ tips can help your lawn bounce back

    Chances are your lawn is looking a bit bedraggled after this rough winter.
    That’s not surprising. Between brutally cold temperatures and drying winds, turf took a beating this year.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gracelawn grows larger

    The Edmond City Council voted 5-0 in favor of the city purchasing 20.5 acres of land immediately to the north of Gracelawn Cemetery. Purchasing the property is needed for future expansion of the cemetery, Mayor Charles Lamb, said.
    Gracelawn Cemetery is owned and operated by the city and is located on the northwest corner of Danforth and Boulevard.

    April 17, 2014

  • Warmth needed to grow tomatoes

    The time for those growing tomatoes in their garden is when the soil temperature is above 60°F and fear of frost has past. We are generally safe from frosts after April 5.  However, frosts have occurred as late as May 1 in the Oklahoma City area. If you planted your tomatoes on or before April 5 last year you would have covered them several times as there were several late frosts. If you plant early, be ready to cover your plants during nighttime frosts.

    April 17, 2014

  • Debate Senate hopefuls meet in first debate

     Accountability to the American people and the $17.5 trillion debt continues to be a major issue in the race for U.S. Senate office being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn.
    The Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee hosted a debate Wednesday for three of the seven Republicans running for the U.S. Senate seat that is being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Oklahoma City FC invites fans to design club scarf

    Oklahoma’s top-tier soccer club, Oklahoma City FC, invites soccer fanatics across Oklahoma to be a part of its future by designing its scarf.
    Scarves are a tradition among soccer clubs and are typically a team’s most recognizable accessory. Scarves are a matter of pride for hard-core supporters and feature team colors, logo and inspiring slogans. Scarves are a part of a team’s identity.

    April 16, 2014

  • MS_injection well.jpg Agency clarifies earthquake-related misinformation

    A state agency says misinformation related to the debate about the cause of more earthquakes across Central Oklahoma includes oil well types, well numbers and injection pressure.
    The Prague sequence of 2011 along the Wilzetta Fault zone included a significant foreshock, a main shock of magnitude 5.7 and numerous aftershocks. It has been suggested that this sequence represents tremors triggered by fluid injection.
    More recently, earthquakes have been recorded in the vicinity of Jones, Arcadia Lake, Edmond, Guthrie, Langston and Crescent. Regulators and scientists are working together to better understand what’s causing all the shaking.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sheriff seeks items for agency history project

    If you have historic pictures or artifacts related to the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, the agency is asking the public to share them.
    “The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office is working on a history project. If you, your family, friends or acquaintances have any old photos or artifacts related to the OCSO we would love to have them or a digital copy,” said Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel.

    April 16, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Video
Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Don't Be A Tattletale: Bad Bullying Tips For Students Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday The trillest thoughts on marijuana "RHOA" Star Charged With Battery Grizzly Bears Get Snowy Birthday Party Weatherman draws forecast when another technical glitch strikes WGN Elizabeth Olsen's Sexy Shoot Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 1 WATCH: Women Fight To Marry Prince Harry! Jenny McCarthy Engaged to "New Kid" Kate and Will Land in Oz O’Reilly Launches Preemptive Strike Against CBS Pixar Unveils Easter Eggs From its Biggest Movies Baby Sloths Squeak for Their Cuddle Partners in Adorable Video

Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

     View Results