Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Teen-Ager Wonders: `How Come I Lived?' Thoughts of Death Haunt Joy Ride Survivor

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Teen-Ager Wonders: `How Come I Lived?' Thoughts of Death Haunt Joy Ride Survivor

Article excerpt

The crusted blood won't wash off right away.

And 16-year-old Austin Bostick prefers it that way. The blood oozing from the football-sized gash in his right hip is a reminder of death - his flirtation with it, his friend's surrender to it.

Four days ago, death had never invaded - or even tiptoed into - his thoughts. "Now I can't stop thinking about death," he said, lying on the couch of his parents' home in St. Charles. "I need to be thinking about it.

"Because I made a mistake."

He was referring to Sunday morning, when he and four friends decided to drive as fast as they could up and down the Seven Hills of Thrills - a narrow, one-mile stretch of Hemsath Road, just south of St. Charles. The driver, Jared Pfaff, 16, zoomed through the steep dips at about 75 mph - 40 miles above the speed limit.

"I had this feeling in my stomach - a weightless feeling, a thrilling feeling," Austin recalled. "Just about every teen-ager in St. Charles talks about these hills, and here I was riding it."

He was riding it until the black 1989 Chevrolet Beretta he was in slammed into a pole, flipped over and scraped the road on its hood, finally stopping at the intersection of Hemsath Road and Kunze Drive.

The two teens in the front seat - Jared and David McCoy, 16, of St. Charles - suffered minor injuries, probably because they wore seat belts, investigators said.

No one wore a seat belt in the back. Evan Geiss, 16, of St. Charles, suffered a ruptured spleen, broken ribs and a serious head injury. He's in critical but stable condition at St. Joseph Health Center in St. Charles. A few rooms over, another passenger, Jason Boylan, 15, of St. Charles, died about an hour after the accident - at 4:28 a.m.

Austin had a concussion. He has a broken wrist. His skin is ripped. He has nine stitches under his left eye, where the glass burrowed.

"I'm groaning like a grandpa," he said. "I'm sore from head to toe."

He cannot eat - uncommon for the teen who stands at 6 feet 2 inches and weighs 250 pounds. …

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