A 27-year-old Oklahoma man died Saturday, one day after he was thrown off the roof of a Jeep Cherokee as he car surfed.
The Jeep, with nine people inside, swerved into a ditch and hit two trees in Ottawa County, throwing Bryan Mitchel McGuirk and a man and woman from Kansas off the roof, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
Five children — ages 2, 3, 5, 7 and 8 — were riding inside the Jeep, the patrol said. The 2-year-old was in a car seat and not injured.
Car surfing is the dangerous, thrill-seeking stunt of climbing onto the roof of a moving car and “surfing” it, like a surfboard. People post videos of the stunt online.
Last year, after seven Americans lost their lives car surfing, The Washington Post reported that it might be more common than ever.
The term is thought to have originated in the mid-1980s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reports car surfing killed 58 people between 1990 and late 2008. It’s a big problem in the Midwest and South, where 75 percent of people injured in car surfing accidents live. Many victims are teenage males, according to the CDC.
Police in Oklahoma issued a warning about it last year, telling News on 6 in Tulsa that even at speeds of 5 miles an hour, someone thrown from a moving car can die. In most car surfing cases that cause injury or death, the driver can face charges ranging from reckless driving to manslaughter, police say.
According to the Tulsa World, McGuirk was thrown 20 feet when the SUV, traveling north on County Road 560 near Picher, swerved, went into a ditch, grazed one tree and then struck another. It landed on its top.
McGuirk, from Miami, Okla., was flown to Freeman Hospital in Joplin, Mo., then to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa. He sustained injuries to his head, arm, leg and torso, the Highway Patrol said. He died at the hospital at about 7:40 p.m. Saturday.
Adrian Diane Ellison, 27, and Brandon Carter, 20, both from Columbus, Kan., rode on the roof with McGuirk, the Joplin Globe reported. Ellison, who was thrown 100 feet from the Jeep, was admitted to Freeman Hospital for her injuries; Carter was treated and released.
The 3-, 5- and 7-year-olds were treated and released with head injuries, the patrol said. The 8-year-old was in poor condition with head injuries at Saint Francis Hospital. Two adult passengers who sustained head and leg injuries were in fair condition; others were treated and released.
The 18-year-old driver, Kennedy Rose Bruce of Welch, Okla., was pinned inside the Jeep for about 20 minutes, troopers said. She was treated at Freeman for head, leg and internal injuries and released.
Troopers said she was driving too fast for being on a gravel road, the World reported. She and at least two passengers wore seat belts.