A paraplegic skateboarder was critically injured after he apparently tried to hitch a ride on a big rig in Ocean Beach.
The man, identified by friends as Brian Wayne Conner, was riding a skateboard on his stomach near the intersection of Bacon Street and Santa Monica just before 2 a.m. Thursday.
Witnesses told San Diego police officers Conner hitched a ride using the undercarriage of a passing semi in an attempt to get up onto a sidewalk.
When the truck made a turn, its wheels ran over the 36-year-old skateboarder, crushing his pelvis and causing major internal injuries.
Conner is well known in Ocean Beach. Local photographer Jim Grant has captured images of him riding his skateboard around town in the past.
"He's a sweetheart,” OB resident Rachael Williamson said of Conner. “Doesn't lean on anybody for anything, always smiling."
Williamson said Conner was with her right before the accident and said she has witnessed him hooking onto cars in the past. It's a practice known as skitching.
"He's been doing it for a long time,” she said. “It's faster than paddling with your hands I'd imagine."
Jon Baker of Ocean Beach said he's also seen Conner getting a ride from passing vehicles. Baker agreed it's dangerous saying "we knew it was going to happen. We knew this was just a matter of time."
Friends told NBC 7 San Diego Conner is an Iraq war veteran who didn't like to talk about how he lost his legs.