A motocross rider whose jump over a freeway in Riverside County last month became an Internet video sensation was critically injured Sunday after performing a dangerous off-road stunt over train tracks, police said
Kyle Katsandris, 24, of San Clemente, planned to jump "an expanse across railroad tracks" in the 500 block of West Los Angeles Avenue, according to the Simi Valley Police Department. But at some point, the stunt went horribly wrong.
Katsandris overshot his landing zone and crashed, said police Cmdr. Robert Arabian.
Emergency responders were called to the scene and Katsandris was taken to a hospital in "critical, but stable condition," police said.
The police department said it was not made aware of the stunt before it was attempted. Authorities only found out about it when medical aid was sought.
"The stunt was extremely dangerous and illegal," Arabian said.
Katsandris' jaw-dropping stunts have drawn the ire of law enforcement agencies in the past.
In March, the motorcyclist posted a video on his Instagram account showing him soaring across four lanes of traffic on the 60 Freeway. The video has been viewed nearly 180,000 times.
The California Highway Patrol and Riverside County Sheriff's Department later learned of the jump from social media, but officials weren't clear if they could prosecute Katsandris.
At the time, CHP Sgt. Randy Costelow said that, going forward, "if anybody is caught doing it, they will be prosecuted."
The posting forced Caltrans officials to block a long dirt ramp used by Katsandris to jump across the freeway on the north side of the road east of Gilman Springs Road.
Katsandris' did not respond to requests for comment.
In the latest stunt, Arabian said, Katsandris was trespassing on railroad easements and also violated the Simi Valley municipal code for off-road driving.
"Sometimes these violators try to jump over a moving train, which is extremely dangerous," Arabian said. "We don't know if that was their intent on this occasion. Obviously, a train versus a motorcyclist would result in serious injury or death to the rider."
The Police Department will determine if charges will be filed against Katsandris.
Before attempting the jump, Katsandris sought advice from Colin Morrison, who performed the stunt years earlier.
A YouTube video of the stunt shows Morrison rocketing off a dirt hillside and soaring over a moving a train. Morrison safely lands on a dirt hillside on the other side of the tracks.
Morrison told KTLA-TV that the stunt requires the motorcyclist to jump about 160 to 180 feet over the train.
"Pretty much if anything goes wrong, the consequences are really big," he told the news station.
Morrison told KTLA-TV he warned Katsandris that "a lot of things could go wrong" with the stunt. But he said Katsandris insisted that he thought he could do the jump.
"Just thinking about going for it I give him respect, and truly hope he has a speedy recovery," Morrison said on Facebook. "Going big on dirt bikes is no joke [and I] still have nightmares of all the things that could have happened back in the day."
Kenny Dawkins, a friend of Katsandris', said the media has made the motocross rider appear as though he was "some kind of irresponsible outlaw who is risking the lives of others while attempting his jumps."
"Truth is, the only person who's life is at risk is Kats himself, said Dawkins, who prints and makes shirts for Katsandris.
He said Katsandris is a skilled motocross rider, but "sometimes even the best riders have accidents, and that's what happened Sunday to Kats."
"Kats is a tough kid and he will recover from these injuries and be back to doing what he lives to do: free ride," Dawkins said.
10:50 a.m.: This article was updated with comments from Simi Valley Police Cmdr. Robert Arabian and from Kenny Dawkins, Kyle Katsandris' friend.