Plymouth North student, 14, killed in ATV crash on Sunday; dirt bike driver being questioned

A 40-year-old man was questioned today by State Police and Plymouth police detectives after the dirt bike the man was riding struck and killed a 14-year-old boy riding an ATV in a wooded area off of Darby Station Road in Plymouth Sunday afternoon, officials said.

The man’s name is not being released, said Plymouth Police Chief Michael E. Botieri, adding that witnesses are also being interviewed by the Massachusetts Environmental Police.

The boy, James Ward, died from his injuries, Botieri said, adding he did not know whether Ward died at the scene or at Jordan Hospital, where he was transported.

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The boy’s father was at the scene at the time of the accident, Botieri said, but he would not say whether the father witnessed the crash.

The man fled the scene after the crash, Reggie Zimmerman, spokesman for the state Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, said Sunday.

The crash took place around 2 p.m. Sunday, officials said.

No charges have been filed, Botieri said.

Several students, teachers, and staff at Plymouth North High School, where Ward was a freshman, observed a moment of silence before the start of class Monday, and donned green in his honor, said principal Kathleen E. McSweeney.

A student in Ward’s marketing class used social media to alert the student body that green was Ward’s favorite color, she said.

“In a school community you work hard in creating a culture of security and safety and watching out for one another. It’s tough when you go through these things,” McSweeney said.

She added, “He was just a kid who made the right choices, did well academically, made those around him better, had a good sense of humor—just a kid you want as part of your school community.”

Ward’s friends have taken to Twitter and Facebook to reflect on his passing and to share memories about the lifelong Plymouth public schools student.

Indigo CaraDonna, his friend, said Ward had an “amazing outlook on life” and loved dirt biking and ATV quad riding.

“James did not have one mean bone in his body, he’d make everyone that looked his way laugh or smile, always,” said the 15-year-old freshman in an e-mail. “He would always make my day because whenever he’d see me, he’d smile at me and say ‘Hi’. He was overall such an amazing person. I’m so glad I knew him and can call him my friend. It’s so heartbreaking to walk the halls of my high school and not see him anymore.”

Grief counseling has been made available to students and staff, said Plymouth School Superintendent Gary E. Maestas.

“It’s very difficult for students to identify with a situation when someone so close to their age, or their actual age ... passes under unfortunate circumstances, or any circumstance,” Maestas said, adding that the mood at the school is very quiet, and classes went on as usual.

“It’s really hard for students to grasp that. Sometimes they can’t make sense of it and we need to be available to them,’’ he said.

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