A teenager hangs on to the hood of a car, seemingly for dear life, as the driver careens down the road. Believe it or not, the teens are playing a game, reports CBS News Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson. It's a risky and dangerous pastime called car surfing, a phenomenon that's sweeping the country.
Thirteen-year-old Mandi Richardson of Clarksville, Indiana tried it on a dare.
"I tried it because, I mean, like, everybody was sayingÂ… 'it's scary, you wouldn't be able to do it, you wouldn't be able to take it,'" she said.
Her friend, 14-year-old Adrian Stroud, did it too.
"I laid on my stomach and held on the windshield partÂ… with my feet hanging, like, towards the front of the car," he said.
But no one could match 18-year-old Kaye Saratain, known as the best car surfer around Clarksville.
"She could supposedly do it faster and better than anybody," according to Police Chief Dwight Ingle.
Kaye's brand of car surfing took on a dangerous new twist. Clarksville police demonstrated it for CBS News at low speed.
"The passenger is sitting on the hood of the car, flat, legs extended. The vehicle will make a 180," explained an officer.
That sharp turn throws the surfer off the car.
"It's who can do it the fastest and the quickest," the officer said.
The surfers win points for speed and technique.
In a skating rink parking lot last October, Kaye was on the hood. Her friend, Adrian, was inside the car.
"She was, like, jumping off and when she jumped, she tripped and she, like, hit the ground," Adrian remembered.
Rescuers took Kaye to the hospital and called her parents.
"We didn't find out even what car surfing was until the very first night Kaye was in the hospital," said her mother Marianne Angel.
Two days later Kaye died, and her mother began hearing one horrible car surfing story after another, including one from a hospital worker.
"A nurse interjected and said her nephew had died this past summer at graduation. They were all car surfing," Angel said.
Statistics show a small but alarming rise in car surfing. In 1997, 69 people died, according to federal statistics. The Safe Streets Coalition advocacy group says that number is growing by ten percent a year.
Kaye's best friend, 22-year-old Sunnye Moser, has even car surfed while pregnant. Sunnye was behind the wheel when Kaye was fatally injured; she pleaded guilty to criminal recklessness.
"Basically I was thinking whatever happens, happens," Moser said. "I mean, there's nothing I could change. I was really prepared for whatever I was going to get."
Sunnye was sentenced to probation and community service. Mandi and Adrian say they have both quit car surfing since Kaye's death.
Police across the country say there are still too many others risking life and limb in the pursuit of a thrill.
[For more information related to this story, seWhen Teens Take Deadly Risks]
Copyright 1999 CBS. All rights reserved.
CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff