SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A Sacramento family is grieving the loss of an 18-year-old killed in a dirt bike accident off the Central Coast.
The crash happened Saturday, marking the sixth death this year at Oceano Dunes. Now there are calls to end off-roading at the recreation area over safety concerns.
“It’s just such a hard time right now for us, to even realize he’s gone,” said sister Tanya Palisehuk.
With heavy hearts, Alan Chernitskiy’s sister and sister-in-law say they’re trying to still process the loss of their little brother.
They say they went from enjoying a family vacation to now planning a funeral.
“It’s kind of a gut-wrenching feeling, like a pit in your stomach that soon he’ll show up,” said sister-in-law Marina Chernitskiy.
The 18-year-old was born and raised in Sacramento. He went to Antelope High School and was studying engineering at American River College. He died in an off-roading accident while on a family trip, at a place his family says he went to often.
“He died doing what he loved, he loved anything off-roading,” said Marina.
The incident happened at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area when Alan crashed his motorcycle off a 30-foot dune. It’s still unknown how fast he was riding.
“Unfortunately he didn’t see a cliff dune that was 32 feet high, and he went over it,” said Marina.
The sisters say park officials performed CPR but he sadly died on the scene. The incident is raising concerns for some visitors.
“It made me a little nervous to go back out there and I just felt bad for the person it happened to,” said Garrett Spriggs.
There’s a push to close vehicle access to the area, but Alan’s sisters say they’re actually not for the closing.
“Things happen just crossing the road, or on airplanes so you can’t say that’s the reason you need to close it down. You just might need safety precautions, to remind people what risks they’re taking,” said Marina.
“We’re still probably gonna be going, we just need to be extra careful,” said Tanya.
A teenager full of life is being remembered for his big heart and his spirit to help others.
“He could have paved himself a road for greatness, he was smart beyond his years,” said Marina.
This is now the second Sacramento man who lost his life at Oceano Dunes. Back in April, a 34-year-old was killed in an ATV crash.
Oceano dunes draw roughly 2 million visitors a year. It’s the only oceanfront state park that allows vehicles on its sand.
A GoFundMe has been started to raise money for funeral costs. You can find the fundraiser here.
A memorial service will be held for Alan at 7 p.m. Friday at Light of the Gospel Missionary Church in Roseville. A funeral service will be held Saturday morning at 10 a.m. in Citrus Heights. You can find more information here.