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Advocating safety: Grover Beach father tells son’s skateboarding story

Posted at 10:20 PM, May 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-21 01:20:51-04

It can be tempting to test just how fast and how far you can go on a skateboard given a big enough hill, but one family is thankful they can share the story of their son’s horrific crash knowing he lived through it.

"We all assume the risk when we jump on these toys. You always think its not going to happen to you, well it happened to us," Richard Thomas Tracy said standing outside of the ICU.

At 7 a.m. Friday morning, his 20-year-old son Chandler started down the hill of James Way towards Oak Park Boulevard in Arroyo Grande on his longboard and lost control.

"He picked up speed in we’re talking around 25-30 miles an hour. By the time he made it to the intersection he had a red light," Tracy explained.

Chandler collided with a car passing through the intersection with the green light.  "He did do enough damage to where it looks as if a motorcycle had made an impact," he explained.

Tracy’s son suffered severe head trauma, loss of blood, and a broken pelvis.  Tracy also says, his son wasn’t wearing a helmet.

But Chandler isn’t the first to try the daring trick.

"When you’re a skateboarder and you see good roads you’re going to want to take them," Franklin Trester said standing outside the South County Skate Park.

He’s a lifelong Grover Beach resident and skateboarder who took a similar trip to Chandler’s down Oak Park Boulevard 20 years ago.

"I got to the end, the little rivets in the sidewalk made my skateboard go one way, I went in front of traffic and my whole entire right side of my body was covered in road burn," Trester said of his crash.

Trester says like Chandler he couldn’t stop because of speed, and he was also not wearing a helmet.  But he says it did encourage him to make safer choices.

"If you’re going to be crazy about stuff you have to wear your pads you have to wear your helmet.  If they have them out there use them," Trester emphasized.

Tracy, Chandler’s father, hopes his son’s crash will be that reminder to others.  

"All you youngsters out there these helmets will save your life if you give them the chance," Tracy said.

Chandler has come out of the medically induced coma he was placed in following the crash and was taken off of breathing support.  He is communicating with family, but despite the large step forward in healing, he has a long road of recovery ahead.