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Skateboarder killed in crash hoped to start his own company

Updated December 4, 2020 - 1:11 pm

Genesis Atkins skateboarded passionately through life, but that ride was cut short when he was thrown from his motorcycle after a collision with a car.

On Nov. 29, the 27-year-old Las Vegas man was riding his motorcycle south on U.S. Highway 95 in the Spaghetti Bowl when a car traveling at a high speed entered the restricted area between the lanes of the highway, struck the crash cushion and was redirected onto U.S. 95. Atkins’ motorcycle then struck the car, causing him to eject.

At 2:23 a.m., Atkins was pronounced dead at the scene.

Family members said they didn’t learn of the crash until Tuesday, nearly two days later. Atkins’ ID was difficult to trace because his belongings had fallen out during the collision, according to his family.

Yonas Tesfaslasie, 40, was arrested on suspicion of DUI and reckless driving resulting in death and failing to maintain lane/improper lane change.

In an interview, Atkins’ mother recalled seeing her son for the last time when she dropped off a Thanksgiving meal, including his favorite sweet potato pie, to his apartment Saturday afternoon.

“He was just cleaning and getting ready for work,” said his mother, Evelini Gibbs. “I didn’t know that would be the last time I’d see him.”

On Tuesday afternoon, while at work, his mother received a call from her oldest son telling her to “clock out and just go home.” When she arrived home, her husband passed on the news that her youngest son had died.

“I can’t believe he’s gone. It still hasn’t hit me,” she said. “I can still see his smiling face that I saw that day.

“I’ll miss his big heart.”

His 24-year-old sister, June Atkins, said her brother seemed in a hurry to make his mark, and she noted their mother gave birth to him in an ambulance on the way to a Long Beach, California, hospital.

“He was eager and ready to be out into the world,” his sister said. “That’s the kind of person he was. All he ever wanted was to skateboard and be happy.”

Skateboarding had been Genesis Atkins’ passion since he got his first skateboard as a Christmas gift when he was 10.

“He went through countless skateboards,” his stepfather, Gerald Gibbs, said. “We had to limit him to two skateboards a month because he went through them like crazy.”

He would skate down rails and land extreme tricks and became well-known in the skateboarding community, according to his family. He took part in skateboarding competitions in Las Vegas, Arizona, California and Florida. Often, he’d make it into the top five amateur and pro rankings, according to David Hafsteinsson, a skateboarding friend.

Once in Arizona, after Atkins won a skateboarding competition and received a couple of thousand dollars, he bought food for all of his friends and family, his friend said. “He never won for himself; he always won for others,” Hafsteinsson said.

“I was his biggest fan,” June Atkins said. “I would watch him do the same trick hundreds of times, and when he finally got it, he’d do it another 100 times to make sure he got it.”

While skateboarding was his passion, Genesis Atkins worked as a technician at Amazon, his family said. He had hoped to invest in properties and use funds from those investments to realize his dream of starting a skateboarding company.

“He wanted to support skateboarders all over the world by amplifying their platforms,” said his brother, Ace Atkins.

A family friend set up a GoFundMe account to help with funeral expenses. As of Thursday night, it had raised over $6,000.

In a previous version of this story, Evelini Gibbs and Gerald Gibbs’ names were incorrect.

Contact Mya Constantino at mconstantino@reviewjournal.com. Follow @searchingformya on Twitter.

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