16-year-old dies in off-roading accident, second off-road crash in 8 days

Published: Jun. 15, 2023 at 6:20 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Officials are investigating a fatal crash that killed a teenager near Green Valley on the 10100 block of W. McGee Ranch Road, near Sahuarita, yesterday afternoon.

Two teenagers were driving an off-highway (OHV) vehicle when they hit a deer and rolled over on a private road.

Deputies from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department traffic unit, the lead investigators on the case, say when the vehicle was rolling over, the 16-year-old was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle.

The passenger died on the scene.

The driver was 15 years old and suffered minor injuries.

Mark Hart, from Arizona Game and Fish in Tucson, says many young drivers lack the driving experience to know what to do in a quick and dangerous scenario.

“Teenagers are not very experienced drivers,” Hart said. “They don’t understand the correct way to respond in an automobile, let alone an off-highway vehicle moving over rough terrain.”

Investigators released that both the driver and passenger were not wearing helmets, which Hart says has been a major concern.

“We just circulated a work email about the two most recent accidents where there are fatalities, and the headline from our people is, ‘helmets, helmets, helmets!’”

Yesterday’s crash was the second deadly off-highway vehicle crash in just over a week in southern Arizona. One of the crashes Hart referred to happened on June 7 in Amado, where an 11-year-old girl was killed in an ATV crash.

She was sitting in her sister’s lap.

“OHV vehicles,” said Hart, “should only carry the number of passengers it has the capacity to carry. They should be properly seated and should be properly buckled in.”

Hart says that yesterday’s crash may have been unavoidable since no one can suspect a deer jumping onto the road. However, he also says things like wearing a helmet and seatbelt and maintaining a safe speed are crucial to remain as safe as possible.

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