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Manhattan Beach teen dies after skateboard ‘skitching’ trick goes wrong

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the death of a teenage boy who hit his head while performing a skateboarding stunt on the back of a Jeep in a Palos Verdes Estates neighborhood Friday night, authorities said.

Sandro McIlroy, 16, was riding his skateboard in the 500 block of Epping Road when he grabbed the passenger door of the moving Jeep, said Palos Verdes Estates police Sgt. Steve Barber. As the Jeep traveled at least 10 mph on the road, Sandro slowly made his way toward the back of the vehicle, he said.

The Manhattan Beach teenager was holding onto to the back of the Jeep when he lost control of his skateboard and fell onto the road, the sergeant said. Sandro, who was not wearing a helmet, suffered severe head injuries.

Sandro was taken to a hospital, where he died hours later, according to Ed Winter, spokesman for the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.

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Police said Sandro was “skitching,” a dangerous act of hitching a ride by holding onto a moving vehicle while riding a skateboard, bicycle or roller skates.

The stunt — which has been featured in the films “Back to the Future” and “Lords of Dogtown” — has gained popularity over the years among skateboarders and bike riders. Dozens of videos have popped up on social media showing the thrill seekers riding through the snow and the busy streets of New York City and Los Angeles. Pop star Justin Bieber has even attempted the stunt.

When the trick goes wrong, however, the results can be deadly.

In Manhattan, a 32-year-old chef was killed after he hitched a ride on a vehicle and was crushed. In Australia, a 23-year-old skateboarder died in September when he fell off his skateboard while being towed by a vehicle and he hit his head.

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Hitching a ride on a vehicle in California while riding a motorcycle, motorized bicycle, bicycle, roller skates, sled or toy vehicle is illegal, Barber said. The law, however, doesn’t specifically address skateboard use, he said.

Street skateboarding is illegal in Palos Verdes Estates, he said.

In Sandro’s case, the CHP will determine if charges will be filed against the Jeep driver, Barber said. The 18-year-old motorist was one of at least five friends who were with Sandro.

veronica.rocha@latimes.com

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Twitter: VeronicaRochaLA

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