By Nathan Baker
The all-terrain vehicle crash that sent a Keenburg teen to the hospital Tuesday also brought a call for caution from a county law enforcement officer.
Carter County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Mike Little urged parents to use caution when allowing children to ride ATVs.
“Parents think they’re safe because they have four wheels, when the fact of the matter is, they’re not,” Little said.
“They’re very unstable, and when they do roll they usually trap the rider. The heavy four-wheeler is what usually causes the injury, not the ground,” Little said.
Members of the Carter Country Rescue Squad, the Watauga Volunteer Fire Department and the Carter County Sheriff’s Department responded to the intersection of Rocky Branch Road and Faith Lane shortly after 6 p.m. Tuesday where an ATV had flipped, injuring its 14-year-old rider.
Investigators said the 14-year-old girl wasn’t wearing a helmet; she was transported by ambulance to Johnson City Medical Center with head injuries.
The CCSD lieutenant said ATVs require skill and training – no matter the age of the driver.
Little said members of the Sheriff’s Department and other emergency services must first undergo hours of training in the safe operation of ATVs before they’re allowed to ride them.
“We have to train grown men in how to be safe on them,” he said. “Parents need to always supervise their children when they’re on them and make sure they’re wearing helmets.”