A Cayucos neighborhood is still reeling from the Monday death of a 20-year-old Fresno man killed in a skateboard accident on Bakersfield Avenue.
According to a county coroner’s report, Seth Dunn died from blunt force head trauma following Monday’s 4:15 p.m. accident. He wasn’t wearing a helmet as he skateboarded down the street.
Spence Grafft was working in his backyard when he heard Dunn and others talking about riding down the steep road.
“I watched them walk up the hill and then saw him go up into the air and heard him hit,” said Grafft, adding that the accident has left him stunned.
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Moments later, Grafft heard one of the skateboarders calling Dunn’s name, and then yelling for someone to call 9-1-1 as neighbors emptied from their homes. Grafft and neighbor Debbie Richards both called the authorities.
One of the skateboarders then ran to the Cayucos Market, which is owned by Cayucos Fire Chief Bill Radke. Radke hurried up the street with life-saving gear and found Dunn with “pretty severe head trauma.
“We were all disappointed that he didn’t pull through.”
Grafft said the hill with its steep pitch has been a magnet for skateboarders over the years. He estimates that skaters can hit 30 mph as they blast down Bakersfield Avenue — now the place of a makeshift memorial for Dunn.
At those speeds, shorter boards can begin to wobble, and the skateboarder may try to stabilize the board by putting a foot down, said Grafft. One of Dunn’s fellow skaters said that appeared to be the reason Dunn was launched from his skateboard.
Spence Grafft’s wife, Debbie, said the day after Dunn’s death, three young men were bombing down the hill at midnight using flashlights.
Spence Grafft said that had Dunn been wearing a helmet, it probably would have saved his life. “He might have broken other bones, but he’d probably still be alive.”
Dunn’s father, Larry, recalled his son’s zest for living, saying that this has been “the most difficult time in my life.”
His voice breaking as he spoke, Larry Dunn said he was proud of his son after reading the more than 300 messages on his Facebook page that told what Seth meant to his friends.
Seth Dunn was 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighed about 200 pounds — and had an equally large love of life, according to his father and friends.
“His joy for life, his laughter, the ability to see the best in people, his life just seemed to have so much meaning. He was able to make everyone seem special,” said his father.
“One kid wrote that ‘every time I sat alone in the cafeteria, he’d sit with me.’ Another said that because Seth played the clarinet, it made him take up the instrument.”
Seth Dunn would have graduated next year from Bethel College — a Mennonite school of some 500 students in Kansas.
During his tenure at the school, he started a coffee shop, buying 10 urns on his own, simply so students could have a place to go and hang out. He also began a radio show, was in two plays this year and one last year. He was an avid bicyclist, snowboarder and skateboarder.
“He was going to finish his major in communications,” said his father, “and then do church servicing with Mennonite Central Committee for two or three years. He could do whatever he wanted to do.”
The family was vacationing in Cayucos, and has been deeply gratified by the kindness and compassion of “total strangers reaching out to us in ways we could never imagine.”
Besides his father and mother, Susan, Dunn is survived by brothers Eli and Isaac, as well as an aunt and uncle.
Arrangements are under the direction of Reis Family Mortuary and Crematory in San Luis Obispo.