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Report says teens killed in crash as a result of "hill jumping"

| January 13, 2012
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Investigators in Eau Claire County say three teens killed and two others injured in a crash last month were out “hill jumping.”

Three Eleva-Strum students -- from left, Austin Gable, 14, Marco Perez, 15, and McKenna Johnson, 13 -died after a single-car crash southeast of Eau Claire.

Deputy Ryan Greening, a crash reconstructionist, says the car was going 80 to 90 miles an hour when it crested a hill, with the goal of getting the vehicle off the ground.

Greening says the vehicle became airborne, traveling through the air for nearly 180 feet before landing again. It swerved off the road, rolled two or three times, and then hit a tree.

Behind the wheel of the vehicle was 14-year-old Austin Gable. The owner of the car, 16-year-old passenger Felicia Bertrang, was in the passenger’s seat. Gable and two other teens died as a result of the crash. Bertrang and another passenger were seriously injured.

Jerry Carpenter, the grandfather of Austin Gable, says the accident continues to haunt the family. He says it’s a “minute to minute survival.”

Eau Claire County Sheriff Ron Cramer says the investigation revealed that “hill jumping” is common, and they hope to raise awareness of the dangerous practice.

AUDIO: Dan Lea reports (:48)

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Category: State News

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