OC Skate Accident Reviewed

School rooftop skateboarding accident reviewed
District officials are concerned about campus safety after hours.


MISSION VIEJO — Saddleback Valley Unified officials are looking for answers from police and school officials after a 14-year-old boy fell 40 feet through a skylight at the Trabuco Hills High School gym on Sunday.

On Tuesday Superintendent Steve Fish and Assistant to the Superintendent Tom Turner visited the gym where wood covered the broken skylight on the gym’s roof.

“It’s scary, you look up and gasp,” said Turner. “We’re glad the student is okay. It’s really shocking.”

The teen stepped on the skylight, fell to the gym floor, and managed to move 40 yards from where he landed to open a door and get help from his friends.

The teen and three friends were on the roof to skateboard when the accident happened, said Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Sandberg.

The teens had climbed up the lifeguard tower onto a nearby roof and crossed two buildings to get to the gym.

The teen fractured his right wrist, ribs, pelvis, and bruised his right lung. The teen was released from Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo.

District officials met with police and school administrators on Tuesday and today to find out more information about the incident and evaluate access to the school’s roof as their first step.

“We want to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said Turner.

Turner said the district did not know about the accident until Monday morning and wants to know whether the Orange County Sheriff’s Department has a procedure for notifying school officials of problems at campuses after hours.

“If something happens on a Sunday afternoon the question is: when they do know, when do they notify?” he said.

Turner said surveillance cameras are positioned around the school and officials are reviewing the footage to see if anything was caught on tape.

The district is determining whether the teen and his family will be asked to pay for the damage.

Authorities say the school is a popular area for skateboarders. Within the last five years the Sheriff’s Department has received 19 calls reporting skateboarders on school grounds, said Sandberg.

In 2003 a custodian reported seven youths who were at the school videotaping each other. The call was canceled seven minutes later when the custodian reported the kids had left.

A YouTube search of skateboarding videos at Trabuco Hills High School shows teens doing tricks off stairways and rails. One shows a teen who stacked trashcans to retrieve his broken skateboard from the roof. The video description does not describe how the board got on the roof.