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Los Gatos Teen Stable Following Stakeboarding Accident

Police say Charlie Laurencio was not wearing a helmet as required by law.

A Los Gatos teen is in stable condition after suffering major head injuries, which required his hospitalization at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose following a June 20 skateboarding accident on Blossom Hill Road.

"He's still a patient," said a hospital receptionist who declined to be identified.

Dad Frank Laurencio said Charlie, 14, is doing better and doctors expect him to make a complete recovery after suffering a skull fracture and brain trauma. He also sustained some scrapes and bruises, he added.

According to Los Gatos-Monte Sereno police Sgt. Kerry Harris, Charlie and three friends were skateboarding eastbound downhill on Blossom Hill Road from University Avenue, when the youth lost control and crashed in the area of Blossom Hill Road at Oak Meadow Drive.

He sustained major head injuries and was transported to VMC for treatment, Harris said, adding that neither Charlie nor his friends who were skateboarding with him were wearing helmets as required by law.

A driver reported passing by Blossom Hill Road at about 6 p.m. June 20 and thought she had seen a vehicle versus pedestrian accident, according to a police report about the accident.

However, upon closer inspection, the woman noticed someone on the ground that turned out to be the fallen skateboarder.

Los Gatos Monte Sereno Police Sgt. Steve Walpole responded to the accident.

"We've had outstanding support from the community," Frank Laurencio said, especially from parents and friends from where Charlie graduated from and parishioners at where the family worships.

The family has lived in Los Gatos for 12 years. Charlie will attend Bellarmine College Preparatory in the fall as a freshman, dad said.

The has a helmet education program that consists of giving incentive coupons to youth when they're seen wearing the protective headgear, said Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Chief Scott Seaman. Last year, ice cream coupons rewarded those wearing helmets; this year, the coupon is for a free pizza.

According to the law, a person under 18 years of age cannot operate a bicycle, ride as a passenger, or ride a skateboard without a properly fitted and fastened helmet that meets the standards of the American National Standards Institute or the SNELL Standards for Protective Headgear. Violators will be cited, Harris said.

For more information on bicycle riding and skateboarding safety, please see attached PDF from the California Highway Patrol.

KATHRYN July 12, 2012 at 10:40 PM
If the kids don't want to wear the helmets as required by law, then the parents need to take away the skateboard or bicycle. It has been proven time after time that head injuries are greatly reduced when wearing a helmet. With a helmet, you have a better chance not to suffer a head injury. Kind of makes it worth it, don't you think?
Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz July 13, 2012 at 04:41 AM
Thank GOD for helmets! Yes, I worked in the E R for 10 years & saw what one's head looked like after a accident. Motorcycle, bicycle, skateboards, cars, etc. accidents. It wasn't pretty, & more often then not it was PERMANENT!
Jim Thrall July 13, 2012 at 04:40 PM
I hope he recovers quickly and conpletely. I also hope that he not only wears protective gear but encourages others to do so as well. All of us have to obey laws on public streets. On a side note, one of the requirements at the proposed (and squashed) skate park was mandatory helmets and the police liked the entire concept because it would allow them easy monitoring of behavior and safety - they could educate better and support (or influence/change) the culture in a better and positive way. I think we need to re-start the efforts to build a skate facility while our town spends $6 million to build a barely-accessible soccer field right beside the Vasona dam.
Sheila Sanchez July 13, 2012 at 05:54 PM
JLC, the skateboarder in the picture is not Charlie. It's one of our file images and, unfortunately, the stakeboarder depicted here is not wearing a safety helmet!
Dave Lane July 13, 2012 at 08:08 PM
A compromise-privately funded skate/scooter park? Perhaps a current or former skateboarder who has been financially blessed and can afford the 1-1.5 million dollars build cost. The Town of Los Gatos would provide the space. The park could be named after the donor/family? The name Vasona originated from a mid-1800's Michigan pony. Public funding Skateboard Park Measure D failed by a large percentage margin in February 2008. Yet still there were 4,163 votes for a skateboard park. When volunteering and dining in Los Gatos I see many boarders and bike riders under 18 years old who are not wearing helmets as required per vehicle code section 21212. As a former injury claims adjuster I cringe when seeing students ride down very busy Santa Cruz Avenue without helmets. The skateboard/scooter park at Scotts Valley's Skypark, near Mt. Hermon Road, seems to work very well. As per Jim Thrall's analysis in this forum the Scotts Valley Police are better able to monitor helmet law compliance. Unannounced two police vehicles arrive, ask all of the under 18 years old students not wearing helmets to please sit on the curb outside of the enclosure, speak with them, write down their names, are given a warning or perhaps citation if prior warnings, a parent is called. As referenced by Kim Ratcliff, "Cool kids wear lids" is a great slogan. Adult skateboarders can set a good example by wearing helmets. Palo Alto has a skate park-why not Los Gatos? Best wishes Charlie!!

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