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Posted on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

Ian Jenkins' family doesn't want charges filed in death of teen hockey star

By Lee Higgins


Ian Jenkins, 15, died last month from injuries suffered when he fell from the back of a friend's pickup truck near the intersection of Eisenhower and Reagan lanes in Milan.

Melanie Maxwell |

Family members of a young hockey star who died last month after falling or jumping off a pickup truck in Milan, don’t want charges filed against the truck’s driver, Milan Police Chief Jeff Lewis said.

Officers are wrapping up their investigation into the death of 15-year-old Ian Jenkins, Lewis said, and prosecutors must decide whether to file charges against Jenkins’ 16-year-old friend who was driving.

Investigators plan to submit their findings to the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office Juvenile Court Division on Friday, Lewis said. The driver is from Milan, but his name is not being released because he’s a juvenile, Lewis said.

“We see where there was some negligence, but there’s more to charging someone that just mere negligence,” Lewis said. “I don’t believe there’s any intent on the driver’s part in this case.”

Washtenaw County Chief Deputy Assistant Prosecutor Steve Hiller could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Jenkins was sitting on a truck bed cover on his friend’s Ford Ranger about 3:45 p.m. May 19 with his feet resting on the bumper, as the truck traveled slowly in an alleyway behind several homes, police said.

The truck was traveling east on Reagan Lane and turned to travel south on Eisenhower Lane, Lewis said. After traveling an estimated 90 to 100 feet, Jenkins jumped or fell off the truck and hit his head, Lewis said.

As soon as the driver realized Jenkins was no longer on the truck, he stopped and got out to help, Lewis said.

Jenkins, who was considered one of the top youth hockey goalies in the country, never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead four days later at the University of Michigan Hospital.

Lewis said Jenkins’ friend is a licensed driver who was not driving erratically or traveling at an excessive rate of speed. He was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Lewis said.

The accident occurred the day after Jenkins signed a contract with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, which can put players on the fast track to the NHL.

(This story has been revised to correct information in the photo caption.)

Lee Higgins is a reporter for He can be reached by phone at (734) 623-2527 and email at



Thu, Jun 30, 2011 : 12:51 a.m.

I think the driver of the truck should be extremely thankful to Ian's parents. The driver was negligent and did NOT use common sense when putting his truck in drive. As the driver of a vehicle you are essentially responsible for the passengers in (or in this case on your vehicle). If the facts are correct in this story Ian was sitting on the truck bed cover NOT in the bed. What responsible driver would put a vehicle in drive with their friend outside of the vehicle? I do believe that this country has become "sue" happy and that is not going to bring Ian back but the driver should lose his license until he can learn how to be more responsible when operating a vehicle.

Terrin Bell

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 10:24 p.m.

When I was young, four of us would drive down 94 going 70. Two people would be sitting in back. One person would drive, while the other would climb out the passenger side window onto the roof of the moving car and come back in the driver's side to switch places with the driver. WE'd take turns. Fun times. Kids do stupid things. If I would have died doing that, there is no reason my equally stupid friend should pay the consequence for my death. It doesn't even sound like in this case anybody was being terribly negligent. Accidents happen.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 9:02 p.m.

And I thought we would get though this without comments like 5c0++ H4d13y provided. I agree with a;; those that feel there is no need in this situation to bring charges I pray both families will have peace and healing sooner rather than later.

5c0++ H4d13y

Fri, Jul 1, 2011 : 2:05 a.m.

No we did stuff like that. I lived to tell. Some of my friends ran into the law and went to court for their bad actions. Good thing this young man didn't kill someone not involved.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 10:42 p.m.

jcj there always has to be at least one self righteous " I never did anything like that " in the bunch

5c0++ H4d13y

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 6:41 p.m.

This is all well and good but I think the public has an interest in young drivers being safer in their use of cars and trucks. Had the driver of the truck insisted that Jenkins get off the truck before it moved, none of use would be reading this now. Some charges have to be brought even if this driver is to lose their license until 18 or 21. As someone that uses public roads I don't want this driver using them for a while.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 5:31 p.m.

In this day of frivolous and callous litigation, a most generous stance indeed.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 5:13 p.m.

A remarkably sad case. I hope the juvenile driver can get over the obvious trauma of what occurred A criminal trial may force a defense attorney to point a finger at the victim to try to exonerate his own client. I am not sure if it is prudent for the County Prosecutor to bring charges in this case, even if it could legally do so.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 4:02 p.m.

this would be about kids doing stupid things with out thinking about possible consequences.hopefully they'll learn from it. the way it is 6-29-2011 Good Day

John A2

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 1:33 p.m.

I agree that this is just one of those unfortunate happenings, and pressing charges will just make it more intense than it already is for all parties involved. I am a Hokey nut and hate to especially see this kind of thing happen to young star who we could be proud of. RIP Jenkins. To his friend who might be reading this: You really need to move on and remember that it was an act of God, and there isn't anything you can do change Gods plan. I am sure that Jenkins would have forgiven you, and most important you must not blame yourself and find it in your heart to forgive yourself. Jenkins is in Hockey Heaven now with all the other passed Hockey Greats. Peace and good luck buddy, Peace!

Cathy Shukait

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 1:21 p.m.

True love and compassion expressed here as the Jenkins family makes this decision and understands this ACCIDENT. May God walk with them and with the friends of Ian in the years to follow.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 1:20 p.m.

Having just been through a situation (admittedly not nearly as serious) - I can understand the family's position. It must have been a real honest soul searching that brought them here. Though, I can see the other side of this, I'm sure that they've weighed that too. I honor their decision.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 12:33 p.m.

Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins for requesting that charges not be filed. It appears to be a tragic accident and this young driver must be suffering horribly every day. We all hope and pray for healing for the Jenkins family and for the young driver.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 12:15 p.m.

My heart breaks for all involved in this situation. What a loss for everyone. May warm memories of the son lost fill the hears of all who knew him. For the other young man, it was an accident and they happen all of the time. You are a good soul.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 11:40 a.m.

The text under the photo of the street signs needs to be revised. It refers to days that make it sound as if events happened this and last week, rather than last month. Please revise for accuracy.

Tony Dearing

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 11:47 a.m.

Thank you. That's been corrected.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 11:30 a.m.

The family is correct here. There is no need to compound a tragedy by ruining another kid's life. I rode in the back of plenty of pickup trucks when I was young, and it wouldn't have been anyone's fault but mine if a tragedy had happened. KIds probably risk more every time they try an "extreme" move on a skateboard than they do when they get in the back of a pickup truck. This was a terrible tragedy, but there is certainly no need to scapegoat someone who already feels terrible about it and probably won't ever let anyone ride in the back of a pickup truck that he is driving again.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 10:28 a.m.

I just hope and pray other young and old people see Jenkin's death as a warning sign. There is a reason laws have been pass about riding in the back of a pick-up. My heart goes out to his family and the young driver of the pick-up truck who loss his friend.

Rob Pollard

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 8:15 p.m.

Question - the story says he was "sitting on a truck bed cover," which if I understand that correctly, means he wasn't sitting "in" the back of a pick-up but rather sitting effectively "on top" of the pickup (in other words, he had no sides around him). Is that correct? If so, while I agree siting in the back of the bed of a pickup is not as safe as, say, sitting in a seat in the truck's cab, it seems this behavior of sitting on a bed cover was different (and riskier, as it is much easier to fall off b/c of no sides). I'm not casting any aspersion on anyone regarding this tragic loss; I just want to make sure I understand what happened and not conflate it with something else.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 10:23 a.m.

Boy... Glad the parents are feeling this way- that poor friend is probably going through his own personal hell already. I can hardly imagine what thoughts swirl thru his mind. Poor everyone involved.