GLEN ST. MARY, Fla. – Two children were seriously injured in an all-terrain vehicle crash Tuesday evening in Baker County, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
The crash was reported shortly after 7:30 p.m. on Reid Stafford Road, just west of the intersection of Mazie Lane.
Troopers said a 14-year-old Glen St. Mary girl was driving a 2019 Polaris ATV and lost control, causing the vehicle to overturn.
According to the Highway Patrol, both the driver and a 9-year-old passenger suffered serious injuries. Troopers said the 9-year-old Glen St. Mary girl was airlifted to UF Health hospital in Jacksonville.
The other passenger, an 11-year-old Macclenny girl, was not injured, troopers said.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, anyone driving an ATV under the age of 16 needs to be supervised by an adult and needs to complete a safety course. ATVs are titled but not registered and not required to be insured. The agency also says approved safety helmets and eye protection are also required for those younger than 16 years old.
According to a Highway Patrol news release, none of the three girls were wearing a helmet.
People who live in the area of Tuesday night’s crash told News4Jax that they have serious concerns about children driving ATVs.
“It’ll happen again,” said one resident. “Because these kids are allowed to climb on their four-wheelers underage, four at a time. They’re allowed to run up and down this road.”
“There’s people that haul butt down this road. They don’t stop. They don’t heed,” said Dawn Evans, who lives in the area. “And God forbid a baby or anyone coming with a smaller vehicle around that corner especially. They’ll just knock them off the road.”
The road where the crash happened is partially dirt and partially paved gravel.
“The way people drive down here, the four-wheelers, the condition of this road, it does not surprise me,” said Randy Tate, who lives in the area.
News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson says the primary role of enforcing ATV rules really lies with parents, as law enforcement officers in rural areas often don’t have the time to monitor them.
“Law enforcement, generally, will respond to this -- one, if they see it happening, two, if they’re called. They’re not actively in traffic looking for ATV drivers,” Jefferson said. “Unfortunately, if they respond to an ATV incident, it’s about a crash.”