ATV related deaths in East Alabama: Two in 48 hours

In East Alabama, the spotlight is on All terrain vehicle accidents, with more and more young people killed this summer, two deaths coming just in the last few days.
Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 10:42 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - In East Alabama, the spotlight is on all terrain vehicle(ATV) accidents, with more and more young people killed this summer, two deaths coming just in the last few days.

“Respect the vehicle you’re on. Respect the laws of the road, and wear a helmet.”, warned Lee County Coroner, Bill Harris. “Most of the injuries I’ve seen here and the few we’ve had over the last few years are mainly head injuries.”

Coroner Harris’ warning comes after nine-year-old Bentley Martin of Phenix City died in March. He’s not the only one. Two other fatal accidents happened just 48 hours apart, claiming the lives of a 17-year-old in Chambers County, and 14-year-old Jaiden Ezell of Lee County. All had one thing in common. They died from riding an ATV, according to reports.

“Just an unfortunate senseless tragedy that could have been prevented.”, said Harris. “Not saying they were in the wrong or whatever but they are just a power house you sit on top of that anything can happen if you don’t respect it and you don’t obey the traffic laws.”

Harris also told News Leader 9, the age range for ATV related accidents he’s seen are mostly people under the age of 30.

Rick Taylor, a Russell County man, told News Leader 9, people who live in rural areas say it’s all too common to see kids riding up and down the road on an ATV. Taylor said it’s concerning when he see’s someone under age riding one without adult supervision.

“I see children from eight to nine years old on a ATV and they’re going down the side of the road, a lot of times they’re going down the middle of the road,” said Taylor.

Sharon Anderson, a Lee County Woman, added, “It’s just a function of being a teenager I think. They don’t realize how important it is to be safe. I think they have that forever mentality.”

Casie Edmunds told News Leader 9 her family rides ATVs often. She said, they never ride without a helmet and always supervise the kids when they hop on the machines.

Lee County Coroner Bill Harris told News Leader 9 he’s only seen one ATV-related accident where the person was wearing a helmet. He urges people to wear helmets and practice proper safety precautions when riding ATVs.