ATV wreck leads to DUI arrest

Published 2:16 am Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A truck driver was jailed and a 12-year-old girl injured after an accident involving an ATV and a pickup on Sunday.

The wreck was the second in as many weekends involving a four-wheeler and a young rider.

Beverly Blackmon, 12, of Century, Fla., was injured when the ATV she was driving collided with a pick-up truck on Smallwood Lane Sunday afternoon.

The driver of the truck involved in the collision, Archie Lee Tanner, Jr., 38, of Castleberry, was not injured but is facing charges stemming from the incident.

“We had a call come in about an ATV accident on Smallwood Lane in the Appleton community and our officers responded to find the young girl injured,” Escambia County Chief Deputy Mike Lambert said. “She was taken by Lifeflight to a Pensacola, Fla., hospital where she was being treated for internal injuries. She was alert and talking during our last contact with her.”

Lambert said Tanner, who was not at the scene of the collision when officers arrived, is facing multiple charges following an investigation.

“Officers went to Mr. Tanner’s residence at 194 Smallwood Lane and placed him under arrest for driving under the influence,” Lambert said. “He also faces charges of leaving the scene of an accident with injuries, which is a felony charge.”

Lambert said Tanner was transported to the Escambia County Detention Center, where he was booked on the charges.

Alexis Cain, 14, of Brewton was injured Nov. 14 while riding a four-wheeler on London Road off U.S. 31, Alabama State Troopers said. She was LifeFlighted from the scene of the accident, but she was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, troopers said.

State troopers said Cain was driving the 2006 Kawasaki when the accident occurred. According to trooper reports, both Cain and her passenger were thrown from the four-wheeler, and neither had been wearing a helmet. Troopers said Cain was speeding.

Lambert said ATV drivers and riders, as well as parents, need to be mindful of these accidents and take precautions when young drivers get behind the wheel.

“The vehicles are fun when they are used properly, but they can also be dangerous,” Lambert said. “Drivers, riders need to take precautions when using these vehicles to prevent accidents and injuries.”

Lambert said accidents on the vehicles are going to happen, but steps can be taken to minimize injuries or avoid them completely.

“Anyone who gets on an ATV needs to be wearing a helmet,” Lambert said. “Another way to avoid accidents and injuries is to use the vehicle in a manner for which it was designed. It is against the law to operate these vehicles on a roadway or even on the right-of-way. They are off-road vehicles and should be used that way.”

Lambert said the days of leniency in those laws are quickly coming to an end.

“We have been lenient with issuing citations for those who operate ATVs improperly,” Lambert said. “There is coming a time when we are going to start arresting people and issuing citations for violations on the rules for operating these machines.”

Lambert said parents also need to be mindful of the operation of vehicles by young drivers.

“Anyone under the age of 16 needs supervision while operating these machines,” Lambert said. “It is the responsibility of the adults in the group to make sure riders and drivers have proper training on handling the vehicle and they are wearing proper equipment to ensure their safety.”

Lambert said the number of ATV and motorcycle accidents have increased in recent months. These accidents should serve as a reminder of the dangers involved in operating the recreational vehicles and remind everyone to exercise caution when using them, he said.