By Shelby Stewart
Brandon Twp.-At 7:37 p.m., May 29, Brandon deputies responded to a sudden death accident in the 600 block of Nelson William Drive.
Upon arrival, deputies saw the two-year-old victim laying on the ground. Deputies were able to speak with the responsible, who said he was giving the victim a ride on and ORV tractor, and that the child fell off and he was not able to tell exactly what had happened. The victim was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.
Deputies gave the suspect a preliminary breath test, which resulted in .15 percent blood alcohol content. He said he would submit to a blood draw, and results are pending. He made it clear that he had been consuming alcohol. The parents of the victim said they did not give him permission to give the child a ride and that they were unaware he was giving the child a ride on the tractor.
The case remains open pending toxicology results and review by the prosecutor’s office.
“This is the second fatal accident this year involving someone under the influence of alcohol where someone has caused death while on an ORV,” said Lt. Greg Glover, Brandon Substation commander. “It is a major problem right now with ORVs being on the roads, golf carts being on the roads, and with underage drivers, those who aren’t licensed or haven’t taken any safety courses.”
Lt. Glover wanted to caution the community in their use of ORVs, or off-road vehicles, as he has seen an uptick in incidents involving them. Laws state that anyone on an ORV must have a helmet, have a license, have taken an ORV safety class and have that certification in your possession, and not drive on any roads, private property only. State land allows ORVs with a permit.
One of the biggest problems he has seen is minors under the age of 16 driving ORVs, which is not legal.
“And those kids aren’t getting the tickets, the parents are. And that is not a civil charge, it is a misdemeanor, both for an unregistered vehicle on the road and having a minor under 16 driving them without a safety or ORV class,” said Glover. “We will ticket and impound those vehicles.”