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Musician's ATV Death: Wakeup Call for Moms

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A famous saxaphonist's death is a harsh reminder that driving ATVs can be fatal.


Dave Matthews Band saxaphonist LeRoi Moore died Tuesday due to complications from an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accident he had on his Virginia farm in late June. LeRoi was 46 years old.

As riding ATVs has become a popular hobby for kids, the amount of related deaths and injuries is increasing. Over 500 people reportedly died in 2006, and at least 100 of those were children. The Consumer Product Safety Commission believes at least 146,000 other people were treated that year for ATV-related injuries.

Three mothers -- Carolyn Anderson, Sue Rabe and Carol Keezer -- lost children in ATV-related accidents and founded the Concerned Families for ATV Safety organization, a network of parents helping each other cope with ATV-related deaths. They claim over 40,000 families each year have a child who is injured or killed in one of these incidents.

Here are a few of the children who have lost their lives in ATV-related accidents:

Dustin Weber, 16, was killed in July when he lost control of the ATV he was driving in Texas and hit a tree. Dustin was pronounced dead at the scene.

Zachary T. Barker, 15, was an ATV passenger who died in May after a car struck the ATV on a St. Louis road. Zachary was thrown 60 feet and died at the accident scene.

Shay Christopher Atwood, 10, died in March, after seven months of surgeries and therapy due to an ATV accident he had last August. Shay was driving a three-wheeler near his Michigan home that flipped over.

Photo: Muskegan Chronicle

Dominique Dezii,13, was killed in April riding in an ATV. The driver of the vehicle ran a red light and then hit an oncoming car on a New Jersey road.

Photo: Courier Post Online

James Anderson, 14, was killed when he crashed an ATV into a tree on a backwoods trail during a 2004 summer vacation with friends in New Hampshire. His mother Carolyn is one of the founders of the Concerned Families for ATV Safety.

Photo: Concerned Families for ATV Safety

Five Georgia children died in 2003 after a car struck their ATV. Dustin Vernedore, 11, Kayla Vernedore, 13, Lindsay Joiner, 13, Courtney Arsenault, 10, and Coranne Megan Nelson, 14 had piled into the ATV and went for a ride on a winding road during a birthday party.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission provides guidelines for reducing the risks involved with ATVs.

* Take a hands-on safety training course. ATV drivers with formal training have a lower injury risk.
* Always wear protective gear, especially a helmet.
* Do not drive ATVs with a passenger or ride in one as a passenger.
* Do not drive ATVs on paved roads.
* Do not allow children to ride or drive adult ATVs. Kids under 16 on adult ATVs are twice as likely to be injured as children riding in youth ATVs.
* Do not drive ATVs while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Would you let your child ride an ATV?

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10 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous August 21, 2008, 5:53 PM

Hell no I wouldn’t let my kid ride an ATV!

zerohelp August 21, 2008, 6:44 PM

My son was in a serious accident when he was 7 in Mexico and 7 years later he got back on and rode again and had the time of his life. I have been ridding since the days of no helmets. Its all about common sense people. My son had a helmet one and was more seriously injured then I ever was. Just be a responsible parent and teach them right from wrong and he will be ok. ( he was dusted and blinded by another rider and lost his site and went off a cliff. If that had not had happened he would be just fine.) My brothers best friend broke his back and is paralyzed but still rides ti this day and my dad is handicaped and it is his favorite thing to do. Dont let a few serious accidents jade you from some thing that can be a great enjoyment for a family.

karo of SF TX August 22, 2008, 12:54 PM

ATVS are very powerful and dangerous machines. They are not toys for children to drive unsupervised. My life flashed by as I was thrown off an ATV and my head slammed the pavement. I was only backing up and jack knifed the trailer attached. Instead of hitting the break, I accidently hit the throttle causing the back of the powerful ATV to drive up over the trailer hitch and throw me. Lucky for me, only a small consussion.

Mawmaw August 23, 2008, 9:40 AM

Proponents of ATVs argue that “risk” is part of living and that more people die in car accidents each year than the number of children killed or seriously injured riding on ATVs. True, however, travel in an automobile is a “necessity”. Parents who place their children on “motorized” recreational machines including jet skis, motorized scooters and go-carts without a roll bar take a calculated risk weighing pleasure vs. causative injury. Parents whose children are injured on motorised recreational vehicles are 100% responsible for the injury and or death of their minor children. That is a risk I would never take and I will forbid the purchase of any of the above for my grandchildren. And yes…it IS OK to speak up with adult children and be a voice of reason.

Carrie August 24, 2008, 10:25 PM

Why can’t anyone take any responsibility anymore? The majority of those kids were killed, not because they were riding ATV’s, but because they were riding ATV’s on public roads traveled by cars… seemingly without adult supervision.

lesair August 24, 2008, 10:59 PM

We just buried my cousin this week. She died from major head trauma due to an ATV accident - an avid rider she was not yet years old.

zerohelp August 25, 2008, 9:34 AM

I Truely feel sorry for those who have lost loved ones. And Im not saying any one person is being more responsible parent then the other. MY issue is just that accidents happen everyday. My Son foutunately survived his ( have being in icu 2 weeks with a completely broke jaw that was wired shut and arm broken all the way across and needed a pin for it to heal straight.) But like I said earlier I grew up riding in the day where there were know rules or helmets and the most I got hurt was a burn on my left leg from wear shorts. I just believe you have to do your best to teach your kids to be responsible on them and thats all you can do. Aside from being a nanny parent and not allowing them to do it at all, which I believe is ridiculous. I will continue to ride right along side my son, my brothers best friend and my dad and ENJOY every minute of it.

Annie Wibbenmeyer October 9, 2008, 3:23 PM

I googled my son’s name and found it on your web site. Dustin Weber I’m not sure if I should be mad or not. My beautiful son died on July 5th 2008 in an ATV accident. He was racing on a rural road and crashed into a tree. It wouldn’t have mattered if he was wearing a helmet…his neck was broke and that’s what killed him. He would have turned 17 in August. I miss him so much but I have to believe that he is in a better place. He was a good boy. ATV’s are fun but dangerous. So is driving a car, riding horses, bulls and working at the sell barn. Oh yeah…playing football too. All of which Dustin did and got hurt doing. God does not just need old people in heaven he gets the young ones too. I rode my 4 wheeler for the first time this weekend. It felt great and made me feel better. The only thing that keeps me going is knowing that I will see him again someday.

carolyn  October 14, 2008, 3:38 PM

my son was killed on an atv. he was 13 years old. he was only about 100 yards away from me when the accident happened. to make things worse, iam a nurse and could do nothing to save him. i feel very responsible for his death. he was taught how to ride safely and was not riding at an accelerated speed. these atv’s now have been proven to be top heavy and tip over even at low speeds. i don’t know the answer to this problem. i only know that i miss my son terribly and wish that i had made better decisions.

Ashley Truog March 16, 2011, 12:28 PM

sublime listing you keep

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