Tempe teenager killed in sled accident identified

Posted: Updated:
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

TEMPE, Ariz -- Authorities in northern Arizona have identified the 17-year-old Tempe boy killed in a tragic sledding accident near Flagstaff.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said Jake McGrady died when his plastic sled slammed into a tree Monday.

Corona Del Sol High School in Tempe confirms that McGrady was a student at the school. 

At the Aztecs' basketball game versus Mesquite High School Tuesday night, students wore McGrady's junior varsity football number, 81, to honor his memory.  The Aztecs won the game 60-45.

“It's just really tough. It just doesn't seem real right now. I can't process it. I know it's going to hit me sometime, I don't know when, but [Jake] really would love this [show of support]. It really would make him happy," said Nick Martinez, a friend and classmate of McGrady's.

Students learned of McGrady’s death during classes Tuesday.

"Everyone was just silent.  It was, it was just a sad day," said Blake Simberschlag, a friend of McGrady's.

Sheriff's deputies up north said McGrady and 11 of his friends had driven up to the Flagstaff area with two of their mothers -- McGrady’s mom not included -- to spend a couple days sledding at a popular hill near Mountainaire. They stayed at a local motel Sunday night and Monday is when McGrady’s sled slammed into a tree.

McGrady was rushed to Flagstaff Medical Center with severe internal and external injuries. Doctors performed unsuccessful surgery and McGrady was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Martinez said McGrady’s family plans to have the funeral sometime Saturday at the Arizona Community Church across the street from the school. No time for the funeral has been set.