September 4, 2018 at 4:41 PM
A 24-year-old man has died after being involved in an accident involving an electric scooter early Saturday, according to police in Dallas.
A friend told Fox affiliate KDFW-TV that the victim — identified as Jacoby Stoneking — was riding an electric scooter on his way home after work when he fell and injured his foot.
Kenneth Moore, the friend, told the station that a frustrated Stoneking called him and asked him to order him a Lyft, which Moore did.
When the Lyft driver arrived, he would later tell police, he found Stoneking unresponsive, prompting him to alert authorities around 4 a.m. Saturday.
"Responding officers observed scrapes and bruising to the injured person's hands and lower extremities,” police said in a statement, noting that officers “found a Lime Scooter that was broken in half up against the curb” nearly 500 feet from where Stoneking was found.
"Officers found no other debris other than parts from the scooter,” the statement added.
Stoneking was taken to Baylor University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 12:41 p.m. Sunday. Reached by phone, the Dallas County medical examiner's office said a cause of death had not been determined.
Though the cause of death remains unknown, if authorities determine Stoneking's death was a result of injuries sustained while riding a scooter, it would probably make his the first known death since thousands of electric scooters were placed on the streets of cities all over the country this summer by companies such as Lime, Bird and Skip.
In a statement published by the Dallas Morning News, Mary Caroline Pruitt, a Lime spokeswoman, said the company was “deeply saddened” by Stoneking's death.
"Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family and loved ones,” the statement said. “We are awaiting the results of the investigation, and we will cooperate fully with the authorities.”
Moore told KDFW-TV that he is struggling to understand how his friend died, and why — if the accident involved more serious injuries — Stoneking didn't mention them when they spoke.
"I understand freak accidents happen, but I don’t feel like my roommate would’ve called me and said, 'Hey, I hurt my foot’ and then had a brain injury. He would’ve told me he hit his head,” Moore said. “I asked him, I said, ‘Did you hit anything else, did you hit your head, you hurt anything else?’ He says, ‘No just my foot,’ and I could tell he was mad so I just got him a ride as fast as I could.”
“For someone to hit their head so hard off of the scooter going 20 miles an hour, to cause brain damage?” he added. “It just doesn’t make sense. And like I said we were skaters, we take falls and hit our head all the time.”
But medical experts say that hitting one's head at those speeds is more than enough to cause brain damage or death.
“An electric scooter is pretty much a moped, just a little slower,” said Sam Torbati, medical director of the Ruth and Harry Roman Emergency Department at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles. “People seem to feel safe since it looks like a recreational tool, but it comes with potential for serious injury.”
"Any most of the people I see on these scooters are not wearing protective gear, such as helmets or knee pads,” he added.
A GoFundMe page for Stoneking's funeral has raised more than $7,300 in about two days. The page described Stoneking as “a son, a brother, an uncle, and the best friend anyone could ever have.”
"His glowing nature was a beacon of love and joy for his family and friends,” the page continued. “He was the most caring man anyone could ever meet. A pet-loving, reptile enthusiast, he cared for many of his favorite cold blooded creatures, and a pack of canine pals. He will be overwhelmingly missed by all that knew him.”
The page noted that Stoneking's organs were to be donated.
After being introduced by multiple companies this spring, electric scooters are available in dozens of cities around the country. The vehicles have been met with a mixture of enthusiasm and hatred, depending on the location.
In Santa Monica, Calif., home to Bird, one of the most well-known electric scooter companies, some locals have attended rallies at city hall to keep the devices in service, while others have waged a guerrilla war against them, documenting their ongoing destruction on social media.
The account administrators of Birdgraveyard, an Instagram account dedicated to documenting scooter destruction, told Vice in July that smashing scooters “is just funny.”
“It’s amusing when people come to the page and do not get why it’s funny,” the site said. “If you can’t laugh at a ride-share scooter being lit on fire at a house party, that’s a problem with you. There’s nothing in the Constitution that says we all have to respect and love brands.”