By LENORE RUTHERFORD
A 15-year-old Aptos boy was killed Sunday afternoon when he hit a tree while snowboarding with friends and family at Dodge Ridge Winter Sports Area.
Travis Doherty, 15, was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy is pending, said Tuolumne County Sheriffs Deputy Robin Hunt, the on-call coroner Sunday.
Hunt said the cause of the boys death appeared to be blunt force trauma to the head.
The boys parents, who were among witnesses to the incident, described him as an expert snowboarder, said Hunt.
His father, Timothy Michael Doherty of Aptos, told Hunt the boy had his snowboard under control and was not going too fast when he went over the left edge of a hairpin turn on the Graceland intermediate trail.
The boy, who was not wearing a helmet, hit a tree about 20 feet off the trail, said Hunt.
Tuolumne County Sheriffs Lt. John Steely said the Dodge Ridge Ski Patrol took the boy to a helipad at the bottom of Chair 8 and performed cardio pulmonary resuscitation while a helicopter was called to take the boy to a Modesto hospital.
However, the helicopter flight nurse pronounced the boy dead at the scene, and his body was taken by ambulance to Tuolumne General Hospital.
Dodge Ridge owner Frank Helm declined comment on the incident and referred questions to the resort marketing director, Michael Ladinigx.
All we can do is confirm there was a fatality, and it was a minor, said Ladinig this morning.