A Gallery of Kids Who've Died On ATVs
Courtesy Concerned Families for ATV Safety
Elizabeth Cornes, 10, died on February 2007 from a 4-wheeled ATV accident. Elizabeth's neighbor found her on the ground unconscious and bleeding from her head, ears, nose and eyes after riding through fields in Louisiana. She had suffered no broken bones and the ATV had not flipped over; Elizabeth's mother Leslie Cornes suspects that Elizabeth and the neighbor were racing when Elizabeth lost control and hit her head on the metal rack in the rear of the vehicle. "We blame ourselves greatly as she should have never been on something as big and powerful as that," said Leslie Cornes.
"The pain has never gone away for me and my family, I sit at the cemetery everyday begging God to give Mikey back to me," said Alexis Kingkiner, the mother of Mikey Brugger, who died while riding his ATV. Mikey was 13 years old when he hit a utility pole on July 9, 2005 while vacationing in Pennsylvania's Pocono mountains. Kingkiner is a member of the advocacy group Concerned Families for ATV Safety, which works to raise public awareness of ATV safety and promote laws that would keep kids under 16 off ATVs and require licenses to drive ATVs.
On May 6, 2002, 11-year-old Kyle Rabe was traveling on an ATV in Oregon when he lost control while taking a short cut down a slope. Rabe was pinned to the ground by the ATV and was unable to breathe. When a friend and father finally lifted the ATV off Rabe, he could not be resuscitated. Kyle was a careful driver who wore the proper protection. As a result of Kyle's death, his mother Sue helped form Concerned Families for ATV Safety in 2005.
While taking a guided tour in a Costa Rican resort town in 2009 with her family, Brooke Scalise, 12, plunged off a 200-foot cliff after failing to complete a sharp turn at an accelerated speed. The tour was allegedly led by minors moving at high speed along a cliff-top trail without guardrails. The tour company was allegedly operating in violation of Costa Rican law by allowing drivers under 16 to operate ATVs.
Will Ryder McCrary was only three years old when he was thrown from his ATV on June 21, 2009. McCrary suffered a punctured lung, broken ribs and swelling in his head. "After his father had made the decision to put him on the 4-wheeler they then turned to me to make the decision to turn my baby off life support because he was brain dead," said McCrary's mother, Melissa Cooper.
Despite 10 years of ATV experience and even surviving an accident at the age of three, Tyler Lumpkin, 13, died August 6, 2004 when his ATV rolled on top of him. A study conducted by University of Utah neurosurgeons found that rollovers were the most frequent type of ATV accident, followed by collisions with other vehicles and inanimate objects. The study claimed that children may be at additional risk for rollovers on turns because of their relative lack of weight and strength, and because ATVs have a high center of gravity and short wheelbase.
Carrie Nolan lost her two sons, Austin, 9, and Justin, 7, on August 23, 2005, when they were struck by a vehicle while riding adult-sized ATVs across a major highway in rural Southwest Wisconsin. Nolan had repeatedly reprimanded her sons for operating ATVs well beyond their size and instructed workers on their family farm to keep the boys away from the ATVs. In spite of her warnings, the boys found the key for the vehicles and rode the ATVs. In 2008, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were an estimated 135, 100 estimated ATV-related emergency room visits. Children younger than 16 accounted for 28 percent of the visits.
Sean Kearney died from injuries he sustained while riding on an adult-sized ATV on October 27, 2006. "While most people were choosing Halloween costumes, we were planning a funeral for an eight-year-old son," write Sean's parents, Mark and Katie.
On September 27, 2008, Zarse Good, 13, died when he lost control of the 600-pound ATV he was operating, which was capable of speeds up to 60 mph. Good had no prior ATV experience and wore neither a helmet nor chest gear. Good's mother said she was unaware that her son had been allowed to ride the ATV.
Sara Rose Hennarichs crashed into a tree on September 13, 2003, while driving a friend's adult-sized ATV on a narrow dirt road. The 13-year old girl was at a friend's house, and did not know how to operate an ATV.
Knox died at the age of seven while riding a 4-wheeled ATV on May 29, 2007. The ATV crushed the boy's abdomen after he fell into a deep ditch while on vacation in Minnesota. "The worst mistake of our lives will be underestimating the danger of such a large and powerful machine," say his parents.