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Pics: Teen dies after tragic sledding accident

An ambulance. (Monkey Business Images/Dreamstime/TNS)
January 26, 2024

A 13-year-old Iowa teenager died last Saturday, ten days after sustaining fatal injuries in a tragic sledding accident.

The Gazette reported that 13-year-old Adam McWherter died as a result of the injuries he suffered after the boy’s sled accidentally slid into the road and he was hit by a 2008 GMC Envoy on Jan. 10. At the time of the accident, McWherter was sledding down his driveway with his 11-year-old friend.

“He was not alone and received care very quickly but was instantly knocked unconscious. His pulse was faint and did fade away,” a friend of the family noted in a GoFundMe page. “Paramedics were able to get his heart restarted after about 20 minutes with him in the ambulance at the base of our driveway.”

According to the GoFundMe page, McWherter was transported to the hospital after sustaining a spinal fracture, a pelvic bone fracture, a broken clavicle, and a strain in his neck. The teenager also experienced small seizures, had bleeding in his lungs and skull, and was put on a ventilator.

McWherter’s obituary explained that the boy died at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital as a result of the injuries he sustained from the sledding accident.

The Gazette reported that the Iowa State Patrol has been investigating the sledding incident and that no charges have been filed against the 49-year-old driver of the 2008 GMC Envoy. Iowa State Patrol troopers interviewed the 11-year-old friend of McWherter, searched the vehicle, and reenacted the sledding incident as part of the investigation.

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According to The Gazette, McWherter and his friend were racing each other down the driveway but did not intend to sled all the way down to the road. The 49-year-old driver of the 2008 GMC Envoy told the police they did not see the 13-year-old boy until just before the accident. A sheriff’s deputy reenacted the sledding incident while a state trooper observed from a patrol vehicle to confirm the driver’s account.

“The top of the deputy’s shoulders and head are the only things visible until he reached almost the end of the driveway,” the trooper wrote in a search warrant affidavit reviewed by The Gazette. “My point of view, 5.2 feet off the ground, was approximately 6 inches higher than the view of (the driver), 4.7 feet off the ground, likely would have been, as the pickup sat higher off the ground than the Envoy.”