Man killed while hanging from side of truck on his skateboard

Richard Oates Brooklyn skate shop owner
Richard Oates, seen here introducing his skate shop, left behind a successful career as a chef to follow his passion for skating.
A New York City man who left his job as a successful chef to start a local skate shop died Tuesday after falling from his board and being run over by a Mack truck.

According to police, 32-year-old Richard Oates, owner of East River Skate Shop in Brooklyn, was hanging onto the passenger side of a Mack truck while riding his skateboard (known as “skitching”) through the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

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As the truck switched lanes while driving along the popular Delancey Street thoroughfare, Oates lost his balance and fell from his board, where police say he was then crushed by one of the truck’s rear tires. He was rushed to Bellevue Hospital shortly after 1:20 p.m. local time, but died soon after.

In a video introducing the opening of his store, the married father of two talked about his decision to leave behind a successful career as a chef to open his skate shop and spend more time with his family.

“I guess my formative years coming up in the city were spent in kitchens,” Oates said. “I spent the past decade working in kitchens, and I’m definitely taking a hiatus from it.”

“[My wife and I] have a family, and we just had a baby, so I really wanted to be available as a father,” Oates continued in his explanation for starting the skate shop. “My older son just started school and I never get to see him, so I decided to double down on the city and do something for ourselves.”

“I got back into skateboarding a while ago as a way to blow off steam,” he told New York Magazine. “So the jump to a skate shop seemed logical.”

Online, the local skate community took to social media to memorialize Oates:

“This is beyond sad, Richard Oates was a stand up dude,” a former customer wrote on Twitter. “He showed my son how to build his first complete board.”

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