It was an act that was meant to get a few laughs from his friends, instead it costed Alex Desalis his life. The 16-year-old was driving home with friends, when witnesses say he crawled on the car’s hood. Shortly after, he fell off the hood of the jeep onto his head. His friend, who was driving, ran over him. According to Georgia State Patrol Troopers, Desalis was most likely car-surfing. After the accident, he was immediately airlifted to an Atlanta hospital, where he was placed in critical care. Medical records show that the teen suffered from serious injuries that included extensive brain damage and two punctured lungs. As he suffered on life support, his parents made the difficult decision to pull the plug. Desalis passed away the next evening.
“He was already gone,” his mother painfully told reporters. “I knew in my heart he was gone.”
His mother said his death was even harder, as he passed away on his grandmother’s 71st birthday. Unfortunately, the family would deal with another loss. Just three weeks later, their grandmother would pass away as well.
Authorities say it is most likely that Desalis was car-surfing, which is illegal. Charges are pending against the driver, despite the victim’s family’s pleas. The teen’s mother denies any allegation that her son was car surfing and does not think the driving deserves to get in trouble.
“I don’t want probation. I don’t want her in jail,” explains Michelle Guthrie, Desalis’ mother. “It was an accident. We feel more bad for the family — for what they’re going through as well.”
Despite the family’s stand on not wanting to press charges, authorities say charges are still pending on the 16-year-old driver.
Desalis’ parents stick to the story of what they believed happened that fateful day. They say Desalis was joking around with friends and asked for a ride a few yards down the street to the cemetery.
“It wasn’t a car surfing adventure,” said Kenneth Guthrie, Alex’s father. “It was him climbing on his friend’s [vehicle] — the hood of her car, on all fours more than likely being funny, trying to get a laugh by twerking.”
Twerking is slang for a form of dancing that has recently gone viral in the younger community. This was the type of humor that Desalis’ parents say made up his personality. The teen was known for helping those that needed to be cheered up.
“If he saw somebody who was having a bad day, Alex felt it was his job to make their day better — to make them laugh,” his parents said.
The young teen was survived by his parents, grandparents and four siblings. His mother says this type of loss can happen to anyone.
“Don’t think it can’t happen to you, because it can.”
Desalis had high hopes for his future. His family says he wanted to become a hair stylist and was already taking cosmetology classes. His cousin started a YouCaring page to raise money to cover his medical and funeral expenses.
“He was kind, understanding and compassionate. He was a friend to all and gave great fashion advice,” the page reads. “Alex please watch over us and guide us through the coming days. You are so loved and missed.”
During his time on Earth, Desalis had a dream of meeting actress, Selena Gomez. In hopes of keeping his dreams alive, the family started the hashtag #livelikeAlexDesalis. They urge people to use the hashtag as a way to continue telling his story, sharing photos or giving words of encouragement.
Riding on the hood of a car, car surfing or any other kind of dangerous activity with a vehicle is illegal with good reason. Desalis’ death was not the first and was certainly not the least. For example, just a few days ago, a 32-year-old man was killed after surfing on a Mack truck.
“Whether a person is trying to be a daredevil or get a laugh from friends, this type of activity is extremely dangerous,” explained Samantha A. Greene, a San Diego attorney. “If the results aren’t tragic, they will at least result in some sort of legal trouble. Any passenger or driver in the vehicle is considered involved and could face charges.”