A Carson City teenager who died in an accident was identified Thursday as Katy Jo Hoffman, 18, who would have been a senior at Carson High School this month.
Hoffman was the passenger Wednesday in a 1981 Chevrolet pickup truck driven by Daniel Kane, when the vehicle apparently lost its brakes descending a steep dirt road on the south side of C Hill near the Nevada Railroad Museum.
Hoffman was pronounced dead at the scene. Kane, 18, was treated and released from Carson-Tahoe Hospital with minor injuries.
Hoffman was active in school sports, participating on the cross country team last year and playing junior varsity soccer in 1999.
Hoffman had been in Carson City since June after returning from Chile. She spent her junior year in Chile through the Rotary Youth Exchange Program, staying with three families while she was there, according to Rotary member Genevieve Fredericks.
"I think she had plans to join the Air Force," Fredericks said. She was stunned by the news and immediately sent e-mails to other Rotary Club members. "It's just so sad."
Throughout the day Thursday, onlookers and friends drove slowly past the site of the accident. At noon, a single, pink rose, lay near where Kane's truck rested the night before.
Later, a group of teenagers arrived at the scene, leaving balloons and flowers and standing amid the sagebrush hugging each other.
Trooper Dean Reynolds, a traffic accident reconstructionist with the Nevada Highway Patrol, said a mechanical check on the truck will be done next week.
Reynolds estimated the speed of the truck at 50 mph when it hit the bottom of the hill and vaulted 60 feet through the air before flipping end over end, and then barrel-rolling to a stop west of Curry Street.
Reynolds said preliminary investigations support the theory that Kane's brakes failed.
"If he would have tried to brake and they worked, it would have forced the vehicle sideways, but there is just one set of tracks from the top to the bottom of the hill," Reynolds said