Skateboarder identified

By Curt Chapman
Staff Writer
Posted 5/10/07

FAIRHOPE – Authorities say Kevin Wade Duncan, 19, of Swayzee, Ind. was the man who died after he fell off his skateboard on Fairhope Avenue late Monday night, near the city’s municipal pier. Cpl. Craig Sawyer, Fairhope police spokesman, said …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Subscribe to continue reading. Already a subscriber? Sign in

Get the gift of local news. All subscriptions 50% off for a limited time!

You can cancel anytime.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Skateboarder identified


FAIRHOPE – Authorities say Kevin Wade Duncan, 19, of Swayzee, Ind. was the man who died after he fell off his skateboard on Fairhope Avenue late Monday night, near the city’s municipal pier. Cpl. Craig Sawyer, Fairhope police spokesman, said Duncan fell at the base of the hill near the pier parking lot and hit his head on the pavement. He was not wearing a helmet.

Duncan died early Tuesday at the University of South Alabama Medical Center in Mobile, where he had been taken by helicopter. The Elwood, Ind. native was in town visiting his aunt and uncle, Lee Ann and Victor Teumer.

“As far as we can tell, he went down the hill too fast and lost his balance at the bottom,” Sawyer said Wednesday. A skateboarder himself when he was younger, Sawyer noted the boards don’t go over rocks and uneven pavement well, and sometimes wobble, any of which could have caused Duncan to fall. He added, “There’s been a lot of speculation, but no concrete evidence.”

The family declined media requests for interviews, but told investigators Duncan was an experienced skateboarder who had spent much of his time on a board while in Fairhope.

According to an online obituary posted by Needham-Storey-Wampner Funeral Home in Swayzee, Duncan graduated from Oak Hill High School in 2006, and had recently completed his first semester of college at Ivy Tech Community College in nearby Marion. He loved playing soccer in high school, enjoyed classic rock music and was a Tennessee Titans fan.

It’s not uncommon to see teens skateboarding on streets in and around Fairhope. Sawyer said although there is a city ordinance prohibiting such activity on downtown sidewalks and in front of the Fairhope Civic Center, there is no law that addresses their use on the road.

“Bike and scooter laws don’t apply,” Sawyer said. “The law considers the skateboard a toy. There are not many regulations regarding skateboards.”

He added, “Because (a skateboarder) is not a pedestrian, pedestrian rules don’t apply. What this guy was doing … we looked at the law and couldn’t find anything that prohibited him from doing it.”

Sawyer said there is also no state law that requires skateboarders to wear head protection, but he pointed out common sense should be used, along with elbow and knee pads.

“If you’re going that fast, I certainly recommend a helmet,” he said.

Fairhope City Councilwoman Debbie Quinn said Duncan’s death underscores the need for a city skateboard park, possibly at Volanta Park. Quinn called his fall a “terrible accident.”

She added the tragic event doesn’t change her views on any liability issues the city might face if a facility is developed.

“I think the city has liability in just about anything,” Quinn said. “Do we outlaw sidewalks if someone falls? A skateboard park would give more opportunities for a place young people can go to. It’s something needed and something the city needs to follow through on. I hope (the accident) doesn’t stop the City Council from moving forward with the skateboard park.”

Skateboarding demonstrations held in Fairhope in the past have proved popular, drawing dozens of area residents to watch participants show off their skills. Enthusiasts have long lobbied the city in hopes of having a place where they could go to enjoy the sport.

Asked whether skateboarding on downtown streets should be prohibited through a municipal ordinance, Quinn said, “That’s something that can be addressed, but how do you enforce it? It would be difficult trying to enforce skateboarders, roller skaters and little scooters. The skateboard park we’ve designed will accommodate all those activities.”

She noted a city skateboard park would include signage that mandates the use of helmets and other safety gear.

As far as police are concerned, the Duncan case is closed. Sawyer said, “It was deemed an accident. The medical examiner will determine the exact cause of death. There was no indication of alcohol, drugs or recklessness.”

In addition to the Teumers, Duncan is survived by his parents, Jeff and Cathy Duncan; his sister, Michelle; his grandparents, two uncles; an aunt; and his dog, Zoe.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, May 12, at Swayzee United Methodist Church, with internment in Thrailkill Cemetery.

The family asks that memorial contributions be made to Oak Hill Soccer Association, P.O. Box 185, Sweetser, IN 46987. Be sure to specify your donation is “in memory of Kevin Duncan.”