ABC News’ Scott Wilson reports:
A 19-year-old Oregon man who was critically injured in a horrific crash when the driver — another 19-year-old — lost control of his car while “hill hopping” at more than 90 mph says other people should get the message that driving is “not all fun and games.”
Nicholas Jolly was attempting to “catch air” in his Honda Civic with his two friends, Douglas Curtis and Juan Barrera, on Valley View Road near Jefferson, Ore., going 90 to 100 mph Saturday night, when he lost control in mid-air and the car hit a utility pole, splitting in two, police said.
“Upon arrival, they found a 1995 black Honda Civic broken into two pieces that were over 100 feet apart,” Don Thomson of the Marion County Sheriff’s Department said. “The entire front end of the car, including the motor, fenders, windshield, dashboard, suspension and frame had separated from the remaining passenger compartment.”
Jolly was found dead on the scene. Barrera sustained severe injuries, and was listed in critical condition today. Curtis suffered only minor injuries in the crash.
“Nicolas Jolly was a good kid, a good friend and a great student,” Barrera said in a statement released from Salem Hospital, where he was being treated. My thoughts are now for his family. I am doing OK. Doctors plan to monitor my condition day to day. I am sorry this happened. Everyone should learn a lesson from this crash. It’s not all fun and games. Bad things can happen. It doesn’t matter who you are. I want people out there to not make the same mistake,” Barrera said.
Don Dotter Jr. was on his back porch when he heard the car coming and a loud bang as it hit the pole.
“I got up there and asked the guy in the back, I go ‘what happened?’ [He] said we were going too fast,” Dotter told ABC affiliate KATU-TV in Portland.
This isn’t the first instance in which “hill hopping” has played out tragically in the region. Thomson told ABC News that a month ago, a similar story occurred when a 16-year-old was “impaled by a piece of fence” after losing control of his car in Salem.
Thomson said “hill hopping” has been glamorized on YouTube, with teens posting videos showing them driving their cars at very fast speeds over the natural ridge tops often found on country roads.
Oregon residents have proposed solutions such as putting up cautionary signs and repaving the roads in areas prone to “hill hopping,” but Thomson was skeptical that they would do much good, saying there “have been no incidences of accidental hill hopping.”
He said some people drive drive out to these locations specifically searching for areas to “hill hop,” and speeds of 90 to 100 mph are dangerous on any road.