Buffalo Grove HS student dies after falling from skateboard pulled by SUV

  • Friends on Sunday described Levi Matsuda as popular, funny and smart. The 17-year-old Buffalo Grove High School student was killed Saturday in a skateboarding accident in Arlington Heights.

      Friends on Sunday described Levi Matsuda as popular, funny and smart. The 17-year-old Buffalo Grove High School student was killed Saturday in a skateboarding accident in Arlington Heights. Steve Zalusky | Staff Photographer

  • A memorial of flowers and photos went up Sunday near the scene of a skateboarding accident in Arlington Heights that claimed the life of a 17-year-old Buffalo Grove High School student Levi Matsuda.

      A memorial of flowers and photos went up Sunday near the scene of a skateboarding accident in Arlington Heights that claimed the life of a 17-year-old Buffalo Grove High School student Levi Matsuda. Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

  • Friends of Buffalo Grove High School student Levi Matsuda gathered Sunday to remember the 17-year-old who died in a skateboarding accident Saturday night. "It's hard to believe. Everyone is just completely shoot about it," friend Jason Dedes said.

      Friends of Buffalo Grove High School student Levi Matsuda gathered Sunday to remember the 17-year-old who died in a skateboarding accident Saturday night. "It's hard to believe. Everyone is just completely shoot about it," friend Jason Dedes said. Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

 
Updated 7/28/2019 5:31 PM

A Buffalo Grove High School student described as popular, funny and smart by classmates died Saturday after falling off a skateboard while holding on to a moving vehicle in Arlington Heights.

Levi Matsuda, 17, of Buffalo Grove, was pronounced dead at 8:09 p.m. Saturday, about an hour after he suffered severe head injuries in the skateboarding accident, authorities said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Arlington Heights police said he was on his skateboard and holding the driver's side door of a 2015 Honda Pilot when he was "separated from the vehicle while both were adjoined and traveling southbound (in the 4100 block of) Ridge Avenue, falling to the ground."

Matsuda was taken by Arlington Heights paramedics to Northwest Community Hospital, where he died, authorities said.

Police said the SUV's driver, also a juvenile, remained on the scene as first responders arrived.

Grieving friends gathered Sunday afternoon at the crash scene, where a memorial was set up featuring flowers and framed photos of the incoming Buffalo Grove High School senior placed against a tree. Many of the photos show him smiling and surrounded by peers.

"He was funny. He made everyone laugh," said Jason Dedes, a friend since he and Matsuda ran cross country together at Cooper Middle School in Buffalo Grove. "That's something that you can hear from anyone. He was a great kid. It's really sad to see this happen to him. I wish I could be able to see him again."

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Dedes said the teen's death has been hard to process for his friends.

"It's hard to believe. Everyone is just completely shook about it," he said.

Buffalo Grove High School Principal Jeff Wardle said in a message to the school community Sunday that members of the school's Student Services Team will be available beginning Monday morning at 8 a.m. to help students and staff. The team's office will be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and 8 a.m. to noon Tuesday.

"We extend our heartfelt sympathy to his family," Wardle wrote. "Different students respond to tragedies differently. Please know that our counselors and crisis response team will be available to talk with students about their feelings. Over the next few days, please encourage your child to express his or her feelings and listen attentively.

"We will have some challenging times ahead of us as we rise to support those who need our help in processing and coping with this loss," Wardle added.

Crash reconstructionists and investigators from the Arlington Heights Police Department's Criminal Investigations Bureau continue to investigate the death, police said Sunday.

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