Outpouring of support after teen’s recent death
August 21, 2006
A memorial celebration will be held on Wednesday in remembrance of the Truckee teen, Keith Stewart, who died last week when he was hit by a car at Truckee River Regional Park.
“Keith’s a product of Truckee,” said Stewart’s father, Lance Skupen, as he sipped a cup of coffee at home Monday. “This town made him who he is.”
Skupen said he awoke Monday morning to find a plate of ribs on his front porch with other plates of food spread out on the kitchen counter.
“The town does come together,” he said.
Stewart, 19, was struck and killed last Wednesday night by Scott Lindner, 18, of Ross, Calif. who was driving a Chevy Tahoe. Lindner fled the scene and then contacted the Truckee Police Department to report his involvement in the incident.
Lindner was arrested and booked into the Truckee jail on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run.
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Lindner posted bail on Thursday and was released, said Police Chief Scott Berry. He said the Nevada County district attorney will determine the date for Lindner’s arraignment and hearing.
Skupen said “a spontaneous memorial” was set up at the park in honor of his son.
For the memorial at Skupen’s home on Wednesday, people will be able to speak freely about Stewart and share stories and pictures of his son, he said.
“Truckee’s run the gamut (of emotions) from tears to rage to anger to just crying,” Skupen said.
Rod Gillespie, project coordinator for the Nevada County Victim/Witness Assistance Center, said a debriefing session is currently in the works for Stewart’s relatives, friends and witnesses.
“It’s an opportunity for people to talk and air their feelings,” Gillespie said.
Statements from witnesses of Stewart’s death are still being taken as evidence in the case, Gillespie said.
Stewart’s brother, Paul, 18, saw the vehicle that “flew over him.” He gave his brother C.P.R., Skupen said.
As a registered nurse at Tahoe Forest Hospital, Skupen said his co-workers have been stepping up to the plate to support the family.
“I can lay my head to sleep at night knowing he (Stewart) got the best care,” Skupen said.
Just days after Stewart’s death, Skupen welcomed a grandson at the same hospital where Stewart was born on Nov. 7, 1986 and died on August 16, 2006.
“I’m the proud grandfather,” Skupen said as he held up a photograph of Paul holding his newborn son, Keith Paye.
Stewart knew he was going to be an uncle to Paul’s baby boy, Skupen said.
The two brothers were inseparable. They protected each other and Skupen said it was his goal as a single parent to “make sure they stay tight.”
Skupen said Stewart’s mother, Christine Stewart, resides in Loyalton.
Raising two teenage boys has had its moments but Skupen said just recently his sons had really come around with the sudden realization, “The old man isn’t so bad.”
With a “work hard, play hard” mentality, Stewart was “out exploring life” and had plans to enlist in the U.S. Army this month to pursue military intelligence, Skupen said.
He said Stewart enjoyed skiing, snowboarding, surfing, swimming, hanging out with his friends, and cooking.
“He loved to create,” Skupen said. “He’d have dinner ready all the time with a big smile on his face.”
– The Celebration of Life memorial for Keith Stewart will be held at Lance Skupen’s home, 10100 Frates Ln. in Truckee at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.
– For those interested in making a donation to the family, an account at any Bank of the West named, “For the benefit of Keith Stewart” is available.