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Posted at 12:43 PM ET, 08/ 6/2010

Teen killed in Va. crash identified

By Matt Zapotosky

Update, 12:43 p.m.: The 17-year-old boy who died Thursday after crashing his dirt bike into a gate at a Sterling park has been identified as Danny S. Somoza of Sterling, according to the Loudoun County sheriff’s office.

Somoza was riding a 2006 Baja Dirt Runner bike in the park about 9:45 with a group of friends when he failed to see that the gates at the entrance to the fields had been closed across the roadway, police said. Somoza struck the gates and was separated from the bike. Kraig Troxell, a Loudoun County sheriff’s office spokesman, said that one of Somoza’s friends called 911 to report the accident. Somoza was transported to the Lansdowne Campus of Inova Loudoun Hospital, where he died.

“He was ahead of the rest of his friends on his bike, and he was not wearing a helmet,” Troxell said, adding that Somoza’s companions were also riding dirt bikes. Virginia law requires the use of a helmet on a dirt bike, Troxell said.

It was the second fatal accident to occur at the park in recent weeks. Eric Lawson, 6, also of Sterling, was killed after being struck by a tree limb that fell during a powerful thunderstorm July 25.

— Caitlin Gibson

Original post: A teenager was killed in Loudoun County Thursday after he crashed his dirt bike into a closed gate that was blocking the entrance of an athletic field, authorities said.

The 17-year-old, who was not named by authorities, was riding his dirt bike in the area of Loudoun Park Lane, east of Cascades Parkway, when he ran into the gate at Claude Moore Park, police said.

By Matt Zapotosky  | August 6, 2010; 12:43 PM ET
Categories:  Loudoun  
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A teenager was killed in Loudoun County Thursday after he crashed his dirt bike into a closed gate...
The teenager was not wearing a helmet...
And we have another Darwin Award winner.

Posted by: checkered1 | August 6, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Wapo, if you refuse to moderate comments on a story like this, then you should close the comments. For some reason, this kind of tragedy is catnip for ignorant people who can't wait to recycle the old "Darwin awards" joke everytime an accident takes a life.
My condolences to the boy's family.

Posted by: Rachelva | August 6, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

This wasn't an accident. A gate falling on somebody would be an accident. This was somebody who didn't know what he was doing and not wearing protective gear running into a closed gate. Stupidity or carelessness maybe, but no accident.

Posted by: ronjaboy | August 6, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

lawsuit re closed gate will bre filed after greiving is done

Posted by: mloaks | August 6, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

It was an accident in that it was unintentional.
However, by 9:45pm it would be dark. Was he riding with or wothout lights? He was riding without a helmet and apparently too fast to see the gate was closed. Was he familiar with the park?
By 17 years of age he should have known better.
While tragic, checkered1 has a point. He wasn't acting very smart and as a result lost his life=Darwin Award "winner".
I feel for his family though...stupid or not its sad when a young person loses his life in such a preventable manner.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | August 6, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

This teen was riding illegally in an area where dirt bikes aren't allowed. Had it not been for the gate, he and his pals would probably have trashed that athletic field.

Sorry, but I save my sympathy for people who die through no fault of their own, not ones who say to hell with everyone else and go out to deliberately do wrong. Bad judgment has a price and sometimes it's pretty steep.

Posted by: nola_exile | August 6, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

I am completely perplexed by the heartless nature of your comments. How dare you disrespect his life with your judgments. He was a student awaiting his senior year of high school to get his diploma. A son and a friend loved by many. People have committed worse and more severe crimes than this and have not had to suffer the consequences. Danny Somoza had to suffer a consequence of the up most severity. I guarantee, had you found yourself in the same situation as his family, you would be appalled that anyone would disrespect them. So I ask you to take a step back, reread what you wrote, and realize just how idiotic you all sound.
My thoughts are with his family and friends during this tragic time. And I hope you will keep them in your thoughts as well.

Posted by: kuhn729 | August 6, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

i agree with kuhn729.
everyone is self absorbed and takes life for granted. they do not recognize the suffering in the world. we have all done stupid things. i don't care what anyone says, we are human. my condolences to the family

Posted by: skandallus | August 7, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Very insensitive comments posted on the loss of a child. I pray that no such tragedy should occur in your family.
My sincere condolences to the family. Just so sad that people are so insensitive.

Posted by: MyOpinion19 | August 7, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

So sad the insensitive comments to the loss of a child. I pray that you NEVER have to go through what his family has had to and is dealing with the loss.
My condolences to the family.

Posted by: MyOpinion19 | August 7, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

How dare you say that? I was with danny ten minutes before the situation happened. He was one of my bestfriends and others aswell. It was not a gang initiation what so ever and no they werent going to tear up claude moore. One of our friends parents lives right behind PVHS and they use it as a cut threw to get there. His intentions were to go there and hangout with all of us, not vandalize or hurt anyone. He simple had a accident that changed so much. So for all the people saying cruel stuff being stereotypical how do yu feel ? he was innocent and nothing but that.

Posted by: burnswe3 | August 9, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

I feel sorry for the people that can sit at their computers posting such hurtful things about a 17 year old boy who only had the intentions of getting home safely with two of his friends. How dare you have the audacity to sit here and judge a person you knew absolutely nothing about, and assume that just because they were teenagers they were up to no good.
So take a look back at some of the hurtful words you have posted on this article, think about how many people read this newspaper daily, and ask yourself if you were in the situation his friends and family are in right now are these the kind of hurtful words you would want to be reading? No one deserves to have these things said about them after life, and no one should have to go through the pain of reading such cruel words.
I pray that whenever you may have to suffer losing a son, a brother, a friend, that no one says these heartbreaking words about them NO MATTER HOW THEY MAY PASS. Whether their death is caused by another or is just a pure accident, there is no right way to bash the death of someone.

And for those of you supporting the "Darwin Award" on this article, I can't believe people can still believe in such a thing. The death of someone, no matter how "good" or "bad" they may have been is never helping out the source of humanity. I don't care who you are or what you may have done throughout your life, the death of someone should never be looked at as "making the world a better place."

Posted by: gilstrapa | August 10, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

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