ATV crashes claim young lives - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

ATV safety tips included

ATV crashes claim young lives

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January 7, 2004

Colquitt County - A Tifton teenager was buried today after being killed in a go cart. Since his death, two more south Georgia children have died on all terrain vehicles.

It seems it never stops here in south Georgia. Children out to have fun, but never come back home alive.

- In April, five-year-old Matthew Baker died of head injuries when the ATV his father was driving struck a utility pole in Colquitt County.

- In September, five children were buried after riding on an ATV in Coffee County. They were struck by a suspected drunk driver.

- A month later, in October, 16-year-old Sarah Pound hit a dip in the road while driving a four-wheeler in Colquitt County and died. The four-wheeler flipped over on top of her.

- A month after that, on Thanksgiving Day, 13-year-old Blain Cooper died after losing control of his ATV in Mitchell County.

-In December, Dooly County teenager 15-year-old Brandon Royal, died after driving his ATV into the path of a pick-up truck.

- On Tuesday, 14-year-old Javaris Green died when his go-cart went into the path of a car on a busy Tifton road.

- A day later, on New Year's Eve, five-year-old Patrick Canty Junior, also known as P. J., was driving a Kawasaki 400 in Colquitt County. He died of head injuries.

- On Monday, 13-year-old Tony Ray Cribbs died instantly after the four-wheeler hit a truck head-on. Three other children are in serious condition.

P. J. Canty got distracted, veered off Mimosa Lane, drove into the ditch and hit the utility pole. The crash only damaged this much of the ATV, but later took his life. His uncle, Danell McNeal, says, "My heart just dropped."

McNeal owns the ATV.  He says, "He was well advanced for his age as far as being on four-wheelers and stuff like that."

We were told P. J. is a distant cousin of Javaris Green who died on the go-cart last week. Neither were wearing helmets. PJ died of head trauma. McNeal says, "He's going to be well missed."

P. J.  will be buried Friday 2:30 at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Tifton. The passenger, eight-year-old Quentavious Akins, survived with minor injuries.

The latest deadly ATV crash happened Monday in Waycross, and killed a 13- year old boy. A Honda 4-wheeler loaded with four children ran a stop sign at Bickley Highway and Cason Road and hit a truck head on. 13-year-old Tony Ray Cribbs of Millwood died instantly.

The other children are still in serious condition. No one in the truck was injured.

It is not legal to drive most ATV's on public roads, but if they are made road worthy, they can be driven anywhere except limited access highways. Almost all ATV's purchased from dealers do not meet the state definition of road worthy.

However, interestingly enough, no helmets are required while riding an ATV. And one approved for the highway, does not need a license tag, nor is insurance required. The driver must be 16 years old and have a valid driver's license.

The ATV Safety Institute has several safety tips at their interactive website .

posted at 5:40PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com