20-Year-Old Injured While ‘Car Surfing’ Dies

CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill. (STMW) — A 20-year-old man injured when he apparently fell from the roof of a vehicle while “car surfing” Thursday night has died. Three teens have been charged with reckless driving in connection to the incident.

Police say the 20-year-old man was riding on the exterior trunk and roof of a Dodge Neon and a 2002 Chevy Impala in a Wal-Mart parking lot at 1205 S. Rte. 31 in Crystal Lake about 11:30 p.m. Thursday.

He fell from the roof of the Impala, struck the pavement and sustained trauma to his head, a release from Crystal Lake police said. He was taken to Centegra Northern Illinois Medical Center in McHenry, where he was listed in critical condition.

The man, Austin Watts, of Hoffman Estates, died Saturday, according to the McHenry County Coroner’s office. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday morning, a deputy coroner said.

Investigators learned Watts had been car surfing — riding on the rooftops of vehicles — before he fell from the car driven by 19-year-old Stephen D. Gallagher of Schaumburg, a release from police said.

Gallagher, Eva M. Carlock of Crystal Lake and a 17-year-old girl were simultaneously driving their vehicles in a “reckless manner” in the parking lot, police said. All three were arrested.

Carlock, 18, of 1365 Gardina Lane in Crystal Lake was charged with misdemeanor reckless driving, reckless conduct and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, the release said. She was released on bail and is scheduled to appear in court on July 19.

The 17-year-old girl from Crystal Lake was petitioned into juvenile court on the charges or reckless driving and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, the release said. She was released to her parents.

Gallagher, of 1806 Hemlock Place in Schaumburg, was charged with misdemeanor reckless driving and felony reckless conduct involving great bodily harm, the release said. He was taken to the McHenry County Jail to await a bond hearing.

The Crystal Lake Police Department’s Targeted Response Unit is investigating.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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