A suburban Boca Raton teen who made world news in 2002 by having an identification microchip implant and later became a college prodigy was killed early Saturday in a motorcycle accident, authorities said.
Derek Jacobs, 18, died about 4:40 a.m. Saturday in the 8000 block of westbound Palmetto Park Road, just west of Powerline Road, according to a Palm Beach County Sheriff's report.
Mr. Jacobs lost control of his 2005 Yamaha, struck and slid along a guardrail, hit a curb and slammed into a wooden pole, throwing and killing him, the report said. He was wearing a helmet and is not believed to have been speeding, and alcohol was not believed to be a factor in the crash, the report said.
"Our friend had a motorcycle and he asked to drive," Leslie Jacobs said of her son. "It was just a crazy accident of a bump or something, and he was catapulted."
At 12, Derek Jacobs had become the youngest Microsoft-certified systems engineer, qualifying him to run the computer network of a medium to large corporation, his mother said.
In May 2002, Derek, then 14, and his parents each had a VeriChip implanted in their arm in a procedure broadcast on NBC's Today show. They were the first family to be implanted with the VeriChip. Applied Digital Solutions, now based in Delray Beach, touted the $200 chip, about the size of a grain of rice, as a way to help identify people and provide quick access to medical histories.
"Derek was a true technology visionary" said Scott R. Silverman, chairman and CEO of Applied Digital Solutions. "I, the people of ADS and all the technology world will never forget Derek."
Derek, who'd been home-schooled, went straight to Florida International University near Miami, joining the College of Engineering at 16.
"Dedicated, visionary and innovative students like him help our college break new boundaries in engineering research and education," engineering Dean Vish Prasad said two years ago.
Mr. Jacobs was set to graduate this year, but he was inspired by his father's battles with cancer and other medical problems and stayed on at FIU to take pre-med courses, his mother said. She said her son wanted to be a neurosurgeon.
"He had, of course, potential, because he was brilliant, and he was just a wonderful son," Leslie Jacobs said. "He wanted to make a difference in the world."
Services are set for 2 p.m. Wednesday at Gardens Memorial Park in Boca Raton. Derek Jacobs, who had no siblings, is survived by his parents and grandparents.
Published in The Palm Beach Post on September 30, 2006
Derek Jacobs Obituary/Area Death: Derek Jacobs?s Obituary by the The Palm Beach Post.