Three airlifted following ATV accidents


Two men and a 13-year-old boy were flown via medical flights to Denver following two separate off-road accidents involving ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) in the last week.

On July 23, the Archuleta County Division of Emergency Management (part of the sheriff’s office) and Upper San Juan Search and Rescue responded to an ATV accident on the Snow Creek ATV trail.

In that incident an adult male, identified as James Vincent, 38, of Pagosa Springs, was riding with an unidentified 13-year-old male on the back of the ATV when the pair failed to negotiate a curve and went off a steep drop-off, said Christina Marquart, Archuleta County deputy director of emergency management.

Because the location of the accident was remote, steep and densely forested, Marquart said the pair were taken out on UTVs (utility vehicles) to meet the medical helicopter.

Three days later, on July 26, the department and USJSAR received another report of an accident on the Sand Creek Trail.

In that incident, an unidentified 45-year-old male from Denver reportedly flipped an ATV, which then landed on top of him, Marquart said.

He was taken to a nearby landing zone and airlifted to Denver.

Additional information concerning the incidents was not available by press time Wednesday.

These are the second and third ATV accidents reported in just over a month that have caused serious injuries.

A June 30 accident sent a Texas man to Farmington, N.M., with a head injury.

In light of the recent accidents and the popularity of ATVs with residents and tourists alike, Marquart suggests several safety tips for ATV use:

  • Always wear a helmet and other protective gear.
  • Never ride under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
  • Never carry a passenger on a single-rider vehicle.
  • Ride an ATV that is right for your age.
  • Supervise riders younger than 16; ATVs are not toys.

Marquart also warned that, while summer is a good time to ride ATVs with youngsters and enjoy the beauty of Pagosa Country from a plethora of ATV trails, safety should always be the top priority — especially when it comes to children.

Almost 90 percent of youth ATV-related injuries occur when a youth is operating a machine intended for adults, Marquart noted. Parental supervision is necessary when children under the age of 16 are operating ATVs.