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Stay Out Stay Alive Fatal Accident Summaries
for 2007

July 9, 2007

Investigators are looking into whether charges will be filed against a 19-year-old Greeley man who drove a vehicle during a stunt gone awry that led to his friend's drowning.

Margie Martinez, a spokeswoman for the Weld County Sheriff's Office, said the teen drove into a 25-foot-deep lake at Bucklen Enterprises Sand and Gravel Pit on Friday.

The two friends had built a dirt ramp and driven the vehicle into the Bucklens' private lake as their friends filmed the stunt.

Martinez said they purchased the car for $300 that day and modified it before attempting the stunt.

"They purchased the Ford Tempo, cut off the top and the doors and built a dirt ramp with the intention to go into the lake," Martinez said.

What happened after the Ford went into the water is unclear.

But friends who were watching the stunt from the lake's bank told authorities the victim began flailing his arms and panicked.

"He (was just in a panic state and wasn't able to get out," Martinez said.

The older teen swam toward his friend to try to help him, but Martinez said he couldn't get his friend out of the water.

Divers from the Union Colony Fire/Rescue Authority began the search Friday and continued the following day, Martinez said.

The victim's body was found at approximately 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

A teenager who was videotaping the stunt told the Greeley Tribune that the older of the two had gotten the idea of driving a car into a lake "a long time ago."

"There was no looking at it," a friend told the Tribune. "It was build a jump and do it. And that was it."

A dirt loader was used to build a ramp on the bank, the Tribune reported.

An autopsy conducted by the Weld County Coroner's Office determined that the victim suffered neck injuries and drowned, Martinez said.

The driver of the car told police he and his friend knew how to swim.

Alcohol is not believed to have been a factor, Martinez said.

"Charges will be determined after the investigation is complete," she said.

(Source: Rocky Mountain News)