KENT — Students at Kent-Meridian High School are in mourning for a senior who fell during a “car surfing” accident and died from his injuries.
The incident happened in one of the student parking lots.
Witnesses say Lupo Benson, 18, jumped on the hood of a friend’s moving car Tuesday. When that car made a sharp turn, he fell and suffered what turned out to be fatal head injuries.
“It just doesn't seem real, how it can happen that fast,” Jovan McConico said Wednesday. “You’re two months from graduation and going to the real world, it just doesn't seem real.”
McConico played football with Benson, and remembers him as a popular student and leader.
“He was a good character. He would laugh, and then when it was football time, he would get serious and tell everybody to get ready.”
“He was a great guy,” added Aaron Jourdan. “He was really nice to everybody. I feel bad that he's passed.
“I didn't even think it was that serious when it first happened,” Jourdan added. “I just thought he got hit by a car, maybe he's got a broken leg. I found out this morning how serious it was.”
Police say the tragedy happened during a stunt known as 'car surfing.' You can find hundreds of car-surfing videos online, showing kids jumping onto hoods and even on the roofs of cars. There are other reports of teens being seriously injured or killed. But it’s a danger many students may not realize.
“High school students sometimes don't make the best decisions,” said Kent School District spokesman Chris Loftis. “They don't know the ramifications of their decisions.”
Counselors will be at the school throughout the week to help both students and staff with their grief.
“You have the students in the car, students who witnessed this," said Loftis. "It's changed many, many lives.”
School officials hope Benson’s accident will be a wake-up call.
“A joke's a joke,” said Jourdan. “But when you take it too far, it can end up terribly for anybody.”
“It’s made me think about what I do. You can have fun, but don't go too far,” added McConico.
The accident was caught on surveillance video. Police and prosecutors are now reviewing that video, to determine whether charges will be filed against the driver.