Young Patterson man dies of bicycle injuries
by Nick Rappley | Patterson Irrigator
Aug 27, 2013 | 6286 views | 0 0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Stephen Gugel was described by friends and family as gregarious, outgoing and always willing to put smiles on faces. He died early Friday, Aug. 23 of injuries sustained in a bicycle accident at the Patterson Skate Park that occurred Thursday, Aug. 22 in the evening. -- Courtesy Photo
Stephen Gugel was described by friends and family as gregarious, outgoing and always willing to put smiles on faces. He died early Friday, Aug. 23 of injuries sustained in a bicycle accident at the Patterson Skate Park that occurred Thursday, Aug. 22 in the evening. -- Courtesy Photo
slideshow
A tribute to Stephen Gugel at the Patterson Skate Park the evening of Friday, Aug. 23 at a memorial service in his honor.  He died earlier Friday of injuries sustained in a bicycle accident at the Patterson Skate Park that occurred Thursday, Aug. 22 in the evening. -- Photo by Nick Rappley/Patterson Irrigator
A tribute to Stephen Gugel at the Patterson Skate Park the evening of Friday, Aug. 23 at a memorial service in his honor. He died earlier Friday of injuries sustained in a bicycle accident at the Patterson Skate Park that occurred Thursday, Aug. 22 in the evening. -- Photo by Nick Rappley/Patterson Irrigator
slideshow
Candles and flowers were all over the Patterson Skate Park Friday, Aug. 23 for a memorial service in honor of Stephen Gugel who had died earlier that day. Gugel sustained injuries in a bicycle accident at the Patterson Skate Park that occurred Thursday, Aug. 22 in the evening. -- Photo by Nick Rappley/Patterson Irrigator
Candles and flowers were all over the Patterson Skate Park Friday, Aug. 23 for a memorial service in honor of Stephen Gugel who had died earlier that day. Gugel sustained injuries in a bicycle accident at the Patterson Skate Park that occurred Thursday, Aug. 22 in the evening. -- Photo by Nick Rappley/Patterson Irrigator
slideshow
A 19 year-old man was injured at the Patterson Skate Park Thursday Aug. 22 around 9 p.m. and later died early Friday morning, Aug. 23 at an area hospital after attempting a stunt with his bicycle in a bowl on the southeast portion of the park.

Witnesses said they saw Stephen Gugel, 19, of Patterson fall off a ledge and hit his body and chin on his handlebars causing internal injuries. He was rushed to Doctor's Medical Center in Modesto and died around 3 a.m. Friday morning.

“He was in critical condition when he was taken to the hospital and suffered internal injuries,” said Amber Gugel, 21, of Hughson — Stephen’s sister. “They couldn’t stop the internal bleeding.”

Courtney MacPherson, 18, of Patterson and a good friend of Stephen Gugel, saw the incident first hand.

“I watched him go over the ledge and land with his body and chin on the handlebars,” she said.

City staff members have launched an investigation into what happened and are examining video surveillance from cameras in the park and interviewing witnesses, City Manager Rod Butler said in a written statement Monday, Aug. 26. The park was closed Friday while staff members were investigating the incident, but re-opened Monday, Aug. 26.

“The security guard from Rank Security was on duty at the time and will be interviewed as well,” he wrote. “At this point there is no evidence that this incident was anything other than a tragic accident, and the City organization wishes to extend its condolences to the friends and family of the victim during this very difficult time.”

Friends and family say Gugel, who had moved from Turlock to Patterson a year ago, was gregarious and fun loving — the life of the party and always wanted to put smiles on people’s faces.

“He always picked your spirit up,” Zach Hurst, 16, of Turlock said.

Seamus Reid, 17, of Turlock said Gugel was never sad.

“We were best friends and he put everyone else first,” he said. “He was a great guy to be around.”

MacPherson said he was like a big brother to her.

“He was someone I could always talk to,” she said. “He always had a smile no matter what was going on.”

Contact Nick Rappley at 892-6187, ext. 31 or nick@pattersonirrigator.com.

Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet


We encourage your online comments in this public forum, but please keep them respectful and constructive. This is not a forum for personal attacks, libelous statements, profanity or racist slurs. Readers may report such inappropriate comments by e-mailing the editor at news@pattersonirrigator.com.