Tragety at Ocotillo Wells this weekend

The following article was in the paper yesterday:

Boy dies after dirt-bike collision

Accident - His father, riding a motorcycle up the opposite side of a sand dune, strikes the Aliso Viejo teen, who dies after surgery

A 14-year-old Aliso Viejo boy was killed in an off-road motorcycle accident Sunday morning when he collided head-on with a motorcycle driven by his father just out-side Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in San Diego County.

Jesse Davis, an eighth grader at Don Juan Avila Middle School and avid motorcyclist, later died at a hospital after surgery.

?They weren?t able to see each other because they approached the same hill from different directions,? said Jose Rocha, a

dispatcher with the California Highway Patrol in San Diego.

The accident occurred at 10:30 a.m. at the Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area, a massive desert park with sand dunes about 100 miles northeast of San Diego.

The boy?s father, Steven Gonzalez, 40, of Aliso Viejo was riding a Yamaha YZ 125 at 40 mph up a dune, while his son, also on a motorcycle, approached the same hill from the opposite direction at about 20 mph, the dispatcher said.

The father jumped his bike at the top of the hill and crashed into his son?s upper body as he reached the top of the sand dune, Rocha said.

The boy was knocked unconscious; he was flown to Palomar Medical Center. He died after undergoing emergency surgery, said Tamara Hemmerly, a hospital spokeswoman.

Gonzalez was treated at Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Brawley. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that there are more serious injuries and fatalities involving off-road motorbikes than in more common sports, but there are no statistics on dirtbike accidents and fatalities.

Neighbors on Sunday night recalled the love of motorcycles shared by father and son. The pair often rode together in front of their house on Plateau Street.

?That?s all he wanted to talk about,? said friend Katie Graves, 13. "He did dirt biking and won trophies.? The girl said she last saw Jesse on Friday night. He was excited about the weekend family camping trip.

She said Jesse enjoyed making milkshakes, listening to punk and rock music, and riding his skateboard. ?He was really sweet? she said. ?He liked to show everyone his bikes and his room.?

Katie?s mother, Jennifer Graves, said Jesse had a happy disposition and lots of friends. ?He was always very nice to Katie,? Graves said. ?They talked on the phone almost every day.?

Whats up with those question marks? They should be quotes...

So much for copy-paste.

Anyway, imagine how the father feels. Wow.

WOW I don't even know what to say about that. I learned the lesson the hard way too but luckily I was more fortunate. I hit my friend head on in some dunes jumping (Clint, the guy on the YZ250 for those that were at the Ocotillo Jetting party). Knocked myself pretty silly that day and luckily rode away. I also have had the unfortunate experience of landing on top of my Fathers dune buggy. I could have easily been that same story with my father but someone was looking out for me and I limped away from that one with a trashed TT350 and my fathers buggy frame destroyed. I still vividly remeber the look on his face as I landed on what would be the top driverside window frame bar of the buggy. I remember my Dad's face then seeing him lay over into the passenger seat and then I closed my eyes and held on. Both of these accidents were when I was young, under 14y/o and from them I've learned and told everyone that I regularly ride with to use spotters. If you guys are jumping anything with a blind side that's not on a track please put someone reliable on top of the lip to waive you through so that you don't end up like this. Every year you hear about TONS of guys on bikes at Glamis jumping without spotters and landing on trucks, buggies, quads, and bikes and many of them are killed. Make sure you're out there having fun but take the time to think about what could happen and try to do something to prevent a stupid mistake that can lead to something really bad.

BTW Ron,

We're planning a weekend trip to Ocotillo 11/30-12/2 if interested. I think it's going to be me and my friend Travis from the Jetting party and Kirk and some of his friends are going to be out there also. Keep it in mind if you want to go out for the weekend.

[ November 13, 2001: Message edited by: sirhk ]

I hope the father can come to grips with this tragedy - I'm not sure I could.

Way back when I was in junior high a kid was killed while riding on an 'illegal' track. He was going the 'wrong way' and took a rear tire to the chin bar on his helmet. Tragedies will never cease but we sure as hell need to do our best to protect ourselves, others and the sport we all love.


I feel bad for the dad. I wonder if he will ever ride again? This situation reminds me of how Brandon Layton died. One good thing about track riding is everyone is going the same direction.

Another tragedy occurred Saturday at Perris Raceway. The track builder's son died there. Read all about it at This one is reminiscent of another tragedy at LACR, where the owner's son died due to a crash on the track, in his dad's presence. :D:)

I cannot imagine anything worse than the loss of a child. I cannot begin to comprehend the emotions a father (or mother) feels when this occurs. The most unfortunate fact is that the father was directly involved in this tragity.

The incident at Perris was also unfortunate. The info I heard was that the rider did not take a slow lap and a track change he was not aware of (if that is what really happened) cost him his life.

My heart and thoughts go out to both families. We sometimes take life for granted and forget how fragile life can be.


My younger son had a bad crash last New Year's Eve. Thought at the time he broke his neck. Scared me more than I would have imagined. Turned out ok in the end. No fracture.

What I can't figure is how does the Consumer Product Safety Commission know that there are more serious injuries from offroad dirtbikes than other "more common sports" if there are no statistics?

Keep your eyes open. Bureaucrats are willing to abridge your rights to satisfy an agenda. If it's worth doing, it's worth fighting for. Join Blue Ribbon Coalition.

As a father, that has always been my worst nightmare. It hurts to just read about an insident like this. Just this past weekend I terminated a ride in a state park early because of a group of 6 out of control 4 wheeler speed racer wannabe's, out of control on a two way trail, filled with novice and children riders. I could invision my 15 year old foster son on his second ride ever becoming a hood ornament on a new banchee.

Be Safe and Ride Smart...

May god bless the family of this boy, and ease their pain and suffering. May he protect the rest of us who sometimes get lost in the excitement of the moment.

Bonzai :)

This stuff is very sad. Accidents can happen but we need to be a little more diligent in their prevention. I don't know if I could live with myself if I killed someone escpecially one of my own kids. Like the Honda add states "Stupid Hurts"! :)


This all rots in a real bad way.

My thoughts and prayers reach out...

Give blind corners more thought. After surviving a head on collision, you never approach the lip of a dune or blind corner the same. I wish I had the fore-sight & thought process to be cogniscent of this before. After colliding with one of my best buddies racing thru the trails I ended up with a concussion, broken ribs, punctured lung etc. My helmet was smashed to pieces as the bike landed on top of me. I was pretty messed up but lucky to be alive. ***Organize your trail rides/ use spotters in the dunes, it could save your life***

lend your thoughts & prayers for that poor kid & his father.

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