A child was seriously injured in a crash following an unlawful ATV ride in Cape Coral Sunday afternoon. Now, police are warning parents to make sure their children are protected while riding ATVs.
The crash occurred in the 700 block of NE Pine Island Lane around 4:15 p.m. The child was a 9-year-old boy driving an ATV by himeself in a vacant lot on the north side of NE Pine Island Lane with another adult nearby on their own ATV. At the same time, a Kia Forte was driving west on NE Pine Island Lane approaching the intersection of NE 7th Place.
According to witnesses, the adult’s ATV stopped by the edge of NE Pine Island Lane to cross the street. Frannie Hunter and her of, Abby, were going for a Sunday afternoon walk. On their daily stroll, they encountered the boy and his dad riding ATVs in the empty lot.
“Going as fast as they could. Riding around doing wheelies and everything,” Hunter said.
When she got to the intersection, she heard a disturbing noise. “If you have your garage door down and you took your fist and hit the garage door, you know, that noise, that’s what sounded like,” said Hunter.
The child’s ATV did not stop and drove into the roadway, directly in front of the Kia, which veered to the left, causing the left side of ATV to hit the front right of the Kia. The car came to rest off the south edge of the roadway.
Master Corporal Phil Mullen is the Public Affairs Officer for the Cape Coral Police Department. “the child entering into the roadway already not supposed to be on an ATV and violated the right of way of that driver on the road,” Mullen said.
During the crash, the boy fell off of the ATV and onto the roadway. The sound Frannie heard was actually the child’s head hitting the pavement.
The ATV was eventually stopped nearby. “He kind of flew from the ATV and landed on his head,” you could hear in first responder calls.
Lee County EMS arrived and found the boy suffered life-threatening head injuries, and he was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital. At the hospital, it was determined that he had suffered a skull fracture and was being admitted for observation, but was in stable condition.
“I thought he was dead,” said Hunter.
The boy was not wearing a helmet or eye protection, which is required by law for those under the age of 16.
“He landed more on his head than any other part of his body,” said Hunter. “The little kid wasn’t moving. He wasn’t talking. He wasn’t doing anything. He just laid there.”
The guardian was issued a citation for operating an ATV on a roadway, which is also against the law.
“I hope he is coming home soon and he’s on the mends,” Hunter said.
This traffic crash is not alcohol- or drug-related.
Master Corporal Mullen says to use an ATV in an empty lot like that one, you need to either own the land or have written permission on your person from a family member. If this is not the case, you are violating a city ordinance.