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Teenager Given Probation for Friend's Skitching Death (06-09-09)

A 17-year-old Ralston Valley High School student was in court on June 25, 2009 to be sentenced for his role in the skitching death of his best friend, Ryan Bailey.  

The juvenile was charged as a juvenile.  He had pled guilty to Criminally Negligent Homicide last month. 

He was sentenced to two years probation with terms and conditions including 150 hours of community service. A minimum of 50 hours must be public speaking and education. The remainder must be on topics recommended by the victim's family and directed at helping kids.

Fun Becomes Tragic

On February 25, 2009 the teen was driving a Ford Mustang with Ryan Bailey hanging on to the side, being pulled on his skateboard.  Bailey, 16, also a Ralston Valley High School student, was not wearing a helmet. He became disconnected from the side of the car and was hit by the Mustang.  He later died from his injuries.

The activity is called skitching.  This was Arvada’s second death of a skateboarder being towed in a four month period.

“Skitching has been around for decades in one form or another. In today’s version, skateboarders, roller bladers, bicyclists and even snowboarders hitch rides on cars, trucks or trains to gain speed.  This faster, more high-tech skitching is extremely dangerous and it’s also illegal,” says District Attorney Scott Storey. 

Skitching is a crime, whether or not anyone is hurt. A rider can be charged with a traffic infraction. The person driving the car being “skitched” can be charged with a felony if the rider is injured or killed, as was the case in the death of Ryan Bailey.

 “We strongly encourage parents to talk to their teens about the danger this activity presents,” said District Attorney Scott Storey. “This is a tragedy and it affects not only the teens and their families but everyone in the community.  While there is no malice involved in these deaths that does not minimize the loss.”

Other Conditions of Probation Sentence

Other conditions of the teen's probation include: mental health counseling; victim empathy classes; participation in a restorative justice program, including public speaking about this tragedy and the dangerousness of skitching; comply with court imposed driving restrictions; and to comply with a 6 p.m. curfew with the exception of approved activities.