Teen suffers serious head injuries after apparent 'car surfing' incident

Saluda High School student Kip Gaston suffered severe head injuries after apparently attempting to ride a car like a surfboard. (Family photo)
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News 12 at 11 o'clock / Sunday, March 20, 2011

SALUDA COUNTY, S.C. -- A Saluda High School student is in the hospital after an apparent car surfing accident Saturday on the Saluda County, Edgefield County line.

South Carolina Highway Patrol says the teen was on the hood of the car and then fell off onto his head on Old Chappell Ferry Road in Saluda County.

Saluda 16-year-old Kip Gaston was airlifted to MCG with serious head injuries. He's recovering now, but his dad, William Carson says this is one dangerous thrill that's not worth it.

Henry Burton found the 16-year-old after investigators say he fell off the hood of a car he was riding on.

"It kind of got me a little scared when I seen him because basically I thought he was dead or what not," Burton said. "Because he was a lying in the highway and blood was everywhere."

"I really didn't think much of it until I got on the scene and saw all the blood and saw him lying there," Carson said.

The boy's shirt and a neck brace sat on the side of Old Chappell Ferry Road now. Gaston however is lying in the hospital recovering from brain swelling.

"He's doing real well," Carson said. "Real well."

The family says they believe the kid was lying on the hood of the moving car when the driver hit the brakes. Gaston told his parents he was "car surfing."

"Well they said they were going to play ball down the street," Burton said. "I don't know what happened. Then they came back and said he had fell off the car. I don't know how that happened."

However it happened, Gaston's injuries are why his family say cars aren't toys.

"One thing about horse playing is somebody can get hurt very badly and if somebody happens to die or is seriously injured, 'I'm sorry' won't be enough," Carson said.

A lesson Burton is now teaching his son who was in the car that Gaston was surfing on.

"Yeah I told him he better learn a lesson from that because cars aren't nothing to play with," Burton said.

Unfortunately, Gaston's family says this is a tough way for these high school kids to learn it.

"I don't know if this is the first time he's ever done this before, but it's not worth it," Carson added. "Somebody can really get hurt."

South Carolina troopers say they're still in the early stages of this investigation so they aren't sure on any charges at this time. Gaston's family says he will be at the hospital a couple more days until his head heals.