While a southeastern Ohio community mourns the death of a 12-year-old boy killed in a crash on Monday while driving an all-terrain vehicle, a State Highway Patrol sergeant issued a reminder that ATVs are not meant for public roads.
Darren C. Roush, of Racine in Meigs County, died after the ATV he was driving collided with a car about 5:24 p.m., patrol Sgt. Jason Roe said.
The boy was driving the ATV west along Rt. 124, between Young and Hill roads south of Racine, when he drove left of center and into the path of an eastbound Chevy Malibu, Roe said.
The boy was taken to Jackson General Hospital, across the Ohio River in Ripley, W.Va., where he died. The Malibu’s driver — Amanda D. Ashworth, 29, of Racine — was treated at the scene for minor injuries.
Darren was about to enter sixth grade at Southern Elementary School, where classes are scheduled to begin today, said school secretary Mindy Patterson. Counselors will be at the school of about 500 students, where Darren was a popular, well-behaved boy known for his baseball and basketball prowess and his smile, she said.
“It is going to be very rough for the other students here,” Patterson said. “It hits hard. It hits everyone.”
State law allows ATV operators to drive on a street or road for a limited distance, to connect from one off-road point to another. They are not to be driven like a car on roads.
The law allows for unrestricted use of ATVs on private land but requires anyone under 16 operating the vehicles on public land — a state park, for example — to be accompanied by a parent or guardian who is 18 or older and has a driver’s license, Roe said.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s ATVSafety.gov website, there were 361 all-terrain-vehicle deaths in Ohio between 1982 and 2011. According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, there had been five verified fatal ATV crashes this year. Darren’s death makes the sixth.
His death was the third involving an ATV since December in the region patrolled by Roe’s Gallipolis post. That’s an unusually high number, Roe said.
A 24-year-old man died after he drove his ATV left of center and into the path of an oncoming car along Happy Hollow Road, near Rutland in Meigs County, in December. A 49-year-old man died in June when the ATV he was driving along Friendly Ridge Road, near Gallipolis in Gallia County, veered off the roadway and overturned, Roe said.
The patrol is still investigating Monday’s crash. It is unclear whether Darren wore a helmet, Roe said.
By Mary Beth Lane - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
©2013 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)
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