MIDDLEBURG, Fla. – Two Middleburg teenagers were critically injured and a third was seriously injured in an all-terrain vehicle crash Monday evening, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
According to the Highway Patrol, a 14-year-old and a 15-year-old were driving ATVs down Live Oak Lane, a long dirt road in Middleburg, about 7:30 p.m. when one of the vehicles overturned after the driver overcorrected. The second ATV driver tried to avoid the overturned ATV and ended up flipping over.
Trooper said the driver and passenger of one ATV, both 14, were taken to Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville in critical condition.
The 15-year-old driver of the second ATV was taken to Orange Park Medical Center in serious condition, troopers said.
News4Jax learned all three teens were Clay County school district students. The district on Tuesday released the following statement:
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the students involved in this accident. We are continuing to work with the families to support their needs during this difficult time.”
Neighbor Donald Brown said teenagers riding ATVs is a common sight.
“They do drive around here on ATVs,” Brown said. “Sometimes I think it isn’t safe, but they’re pretty good on traffic here. They pull over.”
News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said there is a dynamic in more rural neighborhoods where teens commonly ride ATVs and their parents are aware of it. He said he doesn’t expect a citation or charges by law enforcement, but the investigation will determine that and whether they were driving recklessly.
“Young people are daredevils,” Jefferson said. “They do things, exceed the speed that they should be going, and so they drive recklessly.”