One south Georgia community is mourning the loss of two teens involved in an ATV accident. A third ATV rider is recovering and it's having a major impact on an entire town.
A four-wheeler slammed into a tree in rural Berrien County Sunday night. The damage pales in comparison to the deaths of 19-year-old Shane Thompson and 15-year-old Scarlet Barker.
Sheriff Jerry Brogdon in Berrien County says, "They (ATVs) can be a good sport and recreation to do, but you have just got to respect those things because they will harm you very quickly."
The sheriff says the ATV riders likely lost control of their vehicle on a part of Cross Creek Road before sliding off the road through the ditch and hitting a tree. He says the first two riders likely struck the tree, while the third was ejected over into a field.
The sheriff says being ejected into the field may have saved the live of 14-year-old Jessica Mortin. She's expected to fully recover from her injuries.
Investigators say the three ATV riders were not wearing helmets.
Brogdon adds, "With helmets on, it's a possibility that with the injuries they apparently had to the head, with helmets on, it might have saved them."
Locals say they hope this serves as a serious reminder of how important it is to follow state law and wear a helmet even when riding down a deserted stretch of dirt road.
The funerals for the two accident victims will likely be held near the end of the week.
All Terrain Vehicles (ATV) Safety
Proper Riding Posture
Recommended Sizes for Age
Source: www.cpsc.gov (Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site) has contributed to this report.