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.
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:
In the memory of Richard Oates owner of @eastriverskateshop #rip 1983-2016 #love Your #enthusiasm and great #soul will remain alive in my heart I'm #grateful to have met you and glad I was there when you needed help at the shop. Thank you for your support of the NY female skateboard community #femmeskate @femmeskate All my love to his sweet family and friends. #ny #nyc #nyskateboarding #skateboard #skateboarding🌹❤️🙏 http://gothamist.com/2016/01/13/richard_oates_rip_skate_shop.php
“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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