Update: Officials identify deceased Rifle teen
The Garfield County Coroner identified Kyle Scholla as the Rifle teenager who died from injuries sustained in what police described as a “car surfing” incident.
Scholla, an 18-year-old senior at Rifle High School, succumbed Saturday to injuries suffered during “a fall” in which he struck his head, according the coroner’s office. The manner of death is being investigated as an accident.
This past weekend, a statement from the Scholla family was posted to the Rifle High School Facebook page.
“We the Scholla family would like to thank everybody for the heartfelt support and love for Kyle Scholla,” the message read. “Although his body passed away, his big smile and spirit lives on forever. As a parent it’s wonderful to watch your child grow and become a good person. So, go hug and tell your childrenfamilyfriends you love them everyday. For you never know how long the journey of life will be.”
Rifle police responded to the Wal-Mart parking lot around 10 p.m. April 1 for a report of a male juvenile — now known to be Scholla — with serious injuries.
An investigation determined the injuries resulted from “car surfing,” in which the young man had been on the hood of a moving vehicle.
Scholla was transported to Grand River Hospital and then flown to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, where he died from his injuries.
“The Rifle Police Department shares the grief of all parties involved in this tragedy,” a statement read. “ … Again, our prayers and thoughts are with the families of these young people.”
The driver and Scholla were “well known to each other,” according to police, and the incident did not stem from any type of conflict. Police also stated there was no evidence of any alcohol or drug involvement in the incident.
At the time of the incident, the driver was cited for careless driving, resulting in injury. However, police said that given the circumstances, the department will work with the district attorney and all parties involved to determine the role of law enforcement in the incident.
Ninth Judicial District Attorney Sherry Caloia issued a public announcement Monday evening on the dangers of car surfing.
“This is an extremely dangerous activity,” Caloia wrote. “There have been multiple deaths around the country, the result of the ‘surfer’ being thrown from the roof of the car. In several instances the driver of the vehicle engaging in this activity has been charged with homicide for the death of the ‘surfer.’”
Caloia noted no charges have been filed in her jurisdiction.
“We all need to help our young people make good decisions and protect them from the dangers they cannot see,” she concluded. “Please remind your children and other teens and young adults of how dangerous this activity is.”
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