ATV Owner Sued for Boys Death


In Arkansas, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed recently against a man and his concrete company in the death of an 11-year-old boy killed in a four-wheeler accident. Ashton Potter, died in May 2006 after he rode a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle (ATV) up a hill and it tumbled back on him.

The boy was riding a Polaris 330 model all-terrain vehicle owned by defendant Donald Main and his company, A-1 Cement Finishers of Siloam Springs, Arkansas. The ATV was used by Main and his company for cement and construction-related activities. At the time of the accident, Potter was staying at the defendant’s home.

The suit alleges Main and his company failed to properly secure and supervise the four-wheeler, giving the young boy access to it. Potter started the vehicle and rode it traveling up an embankment when it flipped over, landed on top of him and killed him. The boy died at the scene from a severe head injury.

The suit was filed on behalf of Mandi Lopez, the boy’s mother. Damages are sought for wrongful death, conscious pain and suffering and loss of life. The suit alleges the defendants knew, or should have known, that minors would be attracted to a four-wheeler and the expense of remedying the dangerous condition would be slight compared to the risk of harm.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2004 statistics on ATV-related injuries and deaths reveal that there were almost 150,000 serious injuries requiring emergency room treatment and close to 800 ATV deaths. Of those deaths, at least 130 deaths were children younger than 16.

The CPSC and other consumer advocate groups have been pushing for stricter ATV laws for years, and one group, the American Academy of Pediatrics has even recommended that no child under age 16 ride an ATV of any size under any conditions.