Wenatchee, Washington -- 08/07/2007
The mother of a 13-year-old boy who suffered
traumatic injuries in what a city official has called
the "most severe situation involving injuries" at
Wenatchee Skate Park in 10 years is asking for
tighter safety regulations at the park.
Michael Benitez was about to ride his BMX bicycle
into the bowl portion of the park Friday night when
a tire got caught and he fell backward off the bike,
landing on the ground head first. He was not wearing
Benitez suffered a concussion, a bruise to his brain and
a broken right hand. Bloodstains were still visible Monday
evening on the concrete where he landed.
One of Benitez's friends called Shala Pogue, Benitez's
mother, and told her about the incident after he fell
from his bike. Benitez does not remember the fall.
"When I got there my son was unconscious and was
just laying there on the ground in a pool of his own
blood," said Pogue.
Benitez was taken to Central Washington Hospital Friday
where he was treated for his injuries and released late
Pogue plans to tell her son's story to the Wenatchee
City Council Thursday and request the city have some
one monitor the park and possibly adopt an ordinance
requiring cyclists and skateboarders to wear a helmet.
Sgt. Cherie Smith of the Wenatchee Police Department
said the city does not have an ordinance requiring helmets
be worn while riding bicycles or skateboards.
Chelan, East Wenatchee, Leavenworth and
Cashmere also do not have helmet laws.
Ellensburg adopted a helmet ordinance in 2005 that
requires people under the age of 16 using in-line skates,
skateboards, skate shoes, scooters or bicycles wear a helmet.
The penalty is a $25 fine issued to
the parent or guardian of the minor.
Pogue said she would like the skate park to be
monitored for safety in a fashion similar to how the
city pool is supervised, with an adult on duty to make
sure proper safety measures, including the wearing of
helmets, are being taken.
"I could have lost my son, and if I can do something
to save the lives of other kids I gladly will," Pogue said.
According to Caryl Morrell, recreation supervisor for
the city's Parks and Recreation Department, the incident
involving Benitez was the "most severe situation involving
injuries" at the park since it opened at Pioneer Park 10
She said implementing safety standards similar to
those at the city pool would require putting up a
fenced enclosure around the park and limiting the
park's hours of operation.
Morrell added that she has not received safety complaints
from other parents about the lack of supervision at the park.
She agreed the park would be more safe if there was a
"It definitely would be safer and easier to avoid any further
situations involving injuries if there was a helmet ordinance
in place," she said.
Quote: COMMENTS Via The Wen World Web Site
Angela Richmond | Aug 7, 2007 5:07 pm
There is nothing wrong with raising awareness. I think many kids
and parents believe that if you are going less than 10 mph and you
are only a couple of feet off the ground, you won't be injured this
severely. People have suffered TBI falling off of their bikes from a
stand-still. I do believe we should have an ordinance requiring kids
to wear helmets. Adults would be wise to do the same! It is a good
way to protect the innocent from the ignorant.
briana dee | Aug 7, 2007 2:44 pm
"I could have lost my son, and if I can do something
to save the lives of other kids I gladly will,"
Melissa Wax | Aug 7, 2007 4:03 pm
Give me a break. At what point do parents start taking responsibility
for their kid's actions. Why should the tax payers pay for someone to
baby sit this ladies kid. What is next are the people of the Wenatchee
valley going to have to pay for someone to man all of the parks to
make sure kids are swinging on the swings properly. I think not!!!
This lady is wasting the city councils time and potentially the tax payer's
money. By the way I am a strong supporter of the Wenatchee skatepark.
CC - www.wenworld.com
Wenatchee, Washington ( Gene`s BMX Quote Reply ) -- 08/07/2007
First, it is sad that this kid got him self hert. Sad to see that happen.
But Im also going to say it is time for parents
to start taking responsibility for their kid's actions.
I ask why did the parent in this case let there kid brake the Skate
Park Rules by letting the kid ride a BMX bike on the Skate Park?
I ask why? - I know kids are kids but ridding a BMX bike at the
Wenatchee Skate Park is a NO NO in the first place. I do not see
any reason for this parent to be barking foul. If so, I say the parent
should see a ticket for letting the kid brake the rules of the skate park.
Advocates of BMX bicycles in Wenatchee have push for years
to get the city to let BMX bicycles in to the Skate Park, with no luck,
To my knowing it is still BMX Bicycles Probhibited! At The Skate Park.
So why was this kid riding a BMX bicycle at the skate park in the first place?
The results in this case is the kid got hert with out a helmet
ridding a BMX bicycle, NOT a skateboard at the skate park.
I stress where was the parent at? Why did the parent
let the kid ride a BMX bicycle at the Wen Skate Park?
The city may not have a ordinance requiring helmets for them under 18
years old but it is a good idea for the city to look at something of sort.
I see youth on bicycles all over in Wenatchee with out helmets.
Some get lucky and dont get hert, and some do end up getting hert.
Rules of the road apply to bicycles may they be BMX or not.
at this time there is NO state RCW or WAC law for helmet use
for bicycles or skateboards. It is up to a town/city by city to pass
helmet ordinances in the state of Washington. There is a hand full
of citys in Washington state that do have Mandatory Helmet Laws
IE: http://www.genesbmx.com/WaBikeLaw.html - But them helmet
laws in them other towns where NOT drawn up becouse of someone
braking a skate park rule and getting hert from it.......
If this kid was on a skateboard I could see why a parent would
want to push for in force of helmets at the skate park but fact is
the kid broke the park rules and was ridding a BMX bicycle and
got hert. - The kid/parent is of falt for braking the skate park rules.
I for one would like to see youth with helmets on may they be
ridding a bicycle or skateboarding around in town or at the skate
park. Somewheres along the line it is the right thing to do but then
it is up to the parent to get the kids/youth to use a helmet.
It should not have to be a law-enforcement problem to get a kid
to use a helmet. I would think that are law-enforcement officers
would have better things to do with there time than as to police
the kids for helmets. - Again where are the parents of the kids
if they realy do care about there kids. - "parents responsibility".
The Wenatchee Skate Park at Wenatchee`s Pioneer Park has seen its
share of problems over the years from the start. - History shows well.