A popular 15-year-old sophomore at Northern Bedford High School died Saturday night while racing his all-terrain vehicle at the Bedford County Dirt Racers track near New Enterprise.
The teen, Kaleb John Rightenour, from Martinsburg RD lost control of his quad, according to Pennsylvania State Police from Bedford.
The police investigation showed that as the teen attempted to regain control, the quad hit a tire barrier on the side of the track and that caused his vehicle to flip over.
Kaleb was thrown from the vehicle, and he and the quad then hit a light pole, police said.
He died from his injuries as medical personnel were attempting to treat him.
Kaleb is the son of Aleah A. and John Jr. Rightenour Jr.
The principal of Northern Bedford High School, Dave Burkett, said that Kaleb "was a great kid all around."
He was happy-go-lucky, and he was was very respectful, Burkett said.
"He was pleasant to be around. ... I can't say enough about what sort of kid he was. He's the type who would see you in the hall and say hello, whether you were a principal or not," Burkett explained.
He added that Kaleb's fellow students felt very much the same way about him.
He said, "It's a shame the family has to deal with a loss like this, especially of a 15-year-old boy. Burkett said the young man will be in the prayers of those at the school.
Kaleb, he said, has a younger brother, Kaden.
The teen was enrolled in the school's welding and technical program.
Burkett is expected meet with the school faculty this morning and update its members concerning the youth's death.
He said he will also meet with the sophomore class and noted grief counselors will be available as will local ministers if needed.
While Keleb's death has shaken the Northern Bedford High School, it also came as a shock to Bill Ickes, who is the president of the Blair Bedford Dirt Drags, an association that has been running drag races on a track that is located along Route 867, New Enterprise RR1.
The death of young Kaleb is the first one in 30 years of operation, Ickes said.
He said Kaleb had raced at the track last year and thought the youngster was doing what he loved to do.
Saturday night, Kaleb was racing another quad.
The track, said Ickes, is straight and extends for 500 feet. He estimated the accident occurred at about 40 mph.
Ickes said the drag races are not well known but they attract a lot of people. He said several hundred were in attendance for the Saturday night races, including Kaleb's parents.
He said his organization has strict safety regulations.
"We do everything in our power to see everyone's safe," he said.
He said while he racing hasn't been dangerous over the years, "We all know it [injuries] can happen."
"It's devastating," he said of the boy's death.
Ickes said his organization's biggest concern at this point is Kaleb's family.
"Our condolences go out to them," he said.
The next races at the track are scheduled in two weeks, Ickes said.