Teen dies after falling from truck

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By Renee Sloan, Page Designer/Staff Writer

A 13-year-old boy died Monday, Aug. 5, when he fell from the back of a pickup driven by his best friend near Holden Beach.

John Paul Smith Jr. was riding in the bed of the truck, driven by 15-year-old Danny Parker Jr., when it happened at 1:43 p.m., N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper T.D. Wheeler said.

Parker was preparing to make right turn onto Red Bud Road from Oyster Lane in Supply, toward Holden Beach. Just as he began to make the turn, Smith stood up, lost his balance, fell from the truck and hit his head, Wheeler said.

Parker didn’t realize Smith had stood up until he fell from the vehicle, and immediately stopped the truck to call 911, Wheeler said. Per the dispatcher’s instructions, Parker began performing CPR. Smith was later pronounced dead at the scene.

“They were pretty much inseparable,” Wheeler said. “It was just a tragedy.”

Parker was driving about 10 to 15 mph when the accident happened, Wheeler said. Driver’s license laws don’t apply in this case because the roads upon which Parker was driving are not state maintained, the trooper said.