‘Aggressive’ ATV Claims One Occupant’s Life, Seriously Injures Another

By April 8, 2010ATV Accidents

Last week, I wrote about the sad story of a ten-year-old girl who was killed by a potentially defective all terrain vehicle (ATV). As a Missouri ATV accident attorney, I was disheartened to see that this week in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that another person has been killed by an ATV, and his passenger was seriously injured. Day Alexander, 39, of Festus, Mo., was driving the 2002 Yamaha Raptor ATV at the intersection of Berry and Lake Timberline Roads in St. Francois County. The ATV slid across Berry Road and ran off the right side of the road, causing its undercarriage to strike the ground. Alexander lost control of the ATV and hit a log. The ATV flipped over, throwing Alexander and his passenger, Sarah Barrett, 30, of De Soto, Mo., to the ground. Alexander died at the scene of the crash. Barrett was gravely hurt and taken to a hospital by helicopter. The accident report did not specify whether the riders wore helmets.
The 2002 Yamaha Raptor is a four-wheeled ATV that weighs nearly 400 lbs. Sports magazines touted it as “aggressive” and lauded its “high performance” when it came on the market. ATVs like this can reach speeds of 80 miles per hour. Crashes at this speed in passenger automobiles often have quite serious consequences, and that’s with the benefit of seat belts, air bags, and other safety features. ATVs have none of these safety features, and people often ride them without safety gear like helmets, which is completely legal for adults in Missouri.
Unlike the case I wrote about last week, the people involved in this case were adults, so they were physically large enough and old enough to ride the ATV in the way for which it was designed. But even then, they apparently found it hard to control the ATV. The US government advises against riding ATVs with a passenger or on pavement because both of these things can make it hard to control the ATV. Having a passenger makes it hard for the driver to shift his or her weight in any direction needed in response to the ATV’s movement, and ATVs are more difficult to control on paved roads. This may be what Day Alexander and Sarah Barrett discovered when they lost control of their ATV. As a St. Louis ATV crash lawyer, I continue to be saddened that ATV manufacturers build vehicles that cannot keep their riders and passengers safe even when they are used according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
At least 282 Missourians have lost their lives on ATVs, and countless more have suffered serious injuries that were never reported. That’s a lot of families hurt because of these vehicles. When a crash was caused or worsened by a design or manufacturing flaw in the ATV, manufacturers can be held responsible for injuries that come from it. A southern Illinois ATV accident attorney at the Lowe Law Firm can review the details of particular ATV crashes and tell you whether an ATV manufacturer could be held liable for failing to ensure that the ATV was safe for consumers.


If you were seriously injured on an ATV through no fault of your own, or if your loved one was, you can call us for a free consultation, toll-free, at 1-877-678-3400, or contact us through our Web site.