Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

19-year-old skateboarder dies in St. Paul 'skitching' accident

Author:

Clean and sober at age 19, his father says Gunnar Miller was excited about his future. But a skateboarding accident cut short Miller's life this week, the Pioneer Press reports.

St. Paul police say Miller was skateboarding in the Merriam Park neighborhood Tuesday and spotted a driver he knew waiting at a stop sign. With his friend's consent, Miller held onto the side mirror and allowed the car to tow him, in a practice known as skitching.

But as FOX 9 reports, witnesses told police when the unhelmeted Miller let go of the car he fell from his skateboard, striking his head more than once on the pavement. Reports say he died of his head injuries at a hospital that night.

Marc Miller of Eagan tells the Pioneer Press his son graduated from Eastview High School in 2013 thanks in part to counselors who helped him with his drug and alcohol problems.

Miller says Gunnar had been through treatment and had 14 months of sobriety under his belt at the time of the fatal accident. He told the Pioneer Press:

"He'd totally cleaned up and it was like he was back again as our child ... He had everything ahead of him, he was really excited for his new life and was very proud of what he had done."

This embed is invalid

FOX reports police consider Miller's death purely an accident, noting the 23-year-old driver of the car cooperated with investigators, was not ticketed, and had no alcohol in his system.

Instead, police see the accident as a warning of the dangers of skitching. KSTP posted video of St. Paul Police Sgt. Paul Paulos discussing the accident.

This embed is invalid

Skitching, or ski hitching, may have started with adventurous souls holding onto cars on icy roads. Roller skaters and bicyclists have been known to try it but it gained particular popularity among skateboarders, especially after it was featured in a scene in the movie Back to the Future.

The website Skatepark.org lists 21 skateboarding fatalities in the U.S. during 2013 and attributes five of them to skitching.

In Australia this week a man pleaded guilty to negligent driving leading to bodily harm after his 12-year-old son lost his grip on the family's SUV while skitching and suffered head injuries that have left him in a coma.

Next Up

mpd aldi incident screengrab

Video shows MPD officer grab, throw Aldi customer

The department says the matter was referred to the Office of Police Conduct Review.

US Sec Defense Flickr - Joe Bide Nov 11 2021

Biden lays out wintertime plan to curb COVID's spread

It comes as the U.S. reported its second case of the omicron variant.

Willow River DOC

MN Dept. of Corrections offering $5K bonuses as it seeks to hire 200

The DOC is offering hiring bonuses for new employees and for referrals.

covid

3rd federal medical team to join COVID-19 fight in Minnesota

There are more than 1,500 people with COVID-19 admitted to Minnesota hospitals.

hospital, emergency room

Driver killed after other motorist crosses into opposite lane

The head-on crash occurred early Thursday, just north of the Twin Cities.

shot clock

MSHSL approves shot clock for Minnesota varsity basketball

Shot clocks will be required at all varsity games beginning in 2023-24.

Redmons Popcorn Colbert screengrab

Popcorn shop featured on 'The Late Show' has to close 2 days later

A county inspection after the national TV appearance found code violations.

covid, vaccine

Minnesotan infected with omicron was vaccinated, had booster shot

The Hennepin County man received his booster shot in early November.

Related