Western Wisconsin teen dies after 'car surfing' accident


An 18-year-old man from the western Wisconsin town of Holmen has died after falling off a car while "car surfing."

The La Crosse Tribune reports Quacheenu "Zach" Vang died about 2 a.m. Sunday at a La Crosse, Wisconsin, hospital about 24 hours after being seriously injured in the accident early Saturday morning.

La Crosse police say Vang was car surfing – standing on the roof or trunk of a moving car – when he fell off the vehicle. He suffered multiple injuries, including head injuries, according to the Tribune.

Vang went home after the accident, and originally said he was assaulted by other students at Holmen High School. Vang's family took him to the hospital, and his injuries appeared to be consistent with a car crash, not an assault.

It was then that police determined he had been car surfing with several others.

Police add that Vang had been drinking before the incident, according to WEAU TV. An autopsy is scheduled in Madison on Monday.

There's no indication yet whether anyone will face charges as a result of the incident. But in a similar case from two years ago, a St. Paul man was sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years probation for his role in the death of a friend as they were car surfing in Burnett County, Wisconsin. The victim fell off the roof of the car the young man was driving.

Statistics on how many people are injured or killed while car surfing are hard to come by, because law enforcement agencies and hospitals don't specifically track victims, according to USA Today.

But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did a study in 2008 based on media reports of car surfing, and determined that 58 people died and 41 others were injured between 1990 and 2008 as a result of the activity.

The study also determined that car surfing was most popular in the Midwest and the South, with 75 percent of victims coming from those two regions. The vast majority of the victims were males (70 percent) and teenagers (69 percent).

This video shows two young men car surfing; one of them falls off the car but does not appear to be badly injured. (The image at top is a screen grab from this video)

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