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A slew of UTV, ATV, and dirt bike crashes in New Hampshire killed one man and injured three minors and three other men over the holiday weekend.
The fatal crash happened a little before 10 a.m. Monday when the UTV 63-year-old Berlin resident Robert Van Vlaanderen was driving rolled into a ditch, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department said in a news release Tuesday. At the time, Van Vlaanderen was using the UTV to gather wood with a winch and cable in Millsfield.
While winching a log on Millsfield Pond Road, the UTV suddenly and unexpectedly accelerated, causing it to go over a small rock headwall around a culvert, the release said. As a result, the UTV tipped over on its side and fatally injured Van Vlaanderen, who was not wearing a helmet or a seat belt.
Conservation officers, police, and firefighters responded to the crash and declared Van Vlaanderen dead at the scene, the release said.
The first crash that injured minors happened on Saturday around 9:45 a.m. in Milan when the UTV they were riding in rolled over, the Fish and Game Department said in a news release.
At the time, 51-year-old Gilmanton resident Thomas Markievitz was driving the UTV on the Head Pond Connector Trail. Markievitz lost control of the vehicle after rapidly accelerating while making a left turn in a pull-off area on the side of the trail, the release said.
As a result, the UTV tipped over, injuring the two minors who were riding in the back. Conservation officers, firefighters, and other EMS personnel responded to the crash and took the minors to Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin for treatment, the release said.
After investigating the incident, conservation officers determined that excessive acceleration was the primary cause of the crash. They then issued Markievitz a summons on a charge of operating an off-highway recreational vehicle to endanger, the release said.
A minor was also injured in a dirt bike crash over the weekend. The crash happened Monday around 3:45 p.m. in Londonderry when the minor lost control of his bike and hit a steel utility pole head-on, causing serious but nonlife-threatening injuries, the Fish and Game Department said in a news release.
At the time, the minor was biking on private property with a few other young bikers. One of the other bikers called a parent who then called 911 after seeing how badly the minor was injured, the release said.
Firefighters, police, and EMS personnel responded to the scene and took the minor to Elliot Hospital in Manchester for treatment, the release said.
Conservation officers determined that the minor’s inexperience with dirt bikes was the primary cause of the crash. The minor was wearing appropriate safety gear at the time, which they said mitigated the severity of the resulting injuries.
The first crash that injured an adult happened Friday around 3:15 p.m. in Jericho State Park in Berlin.
Westport resident Jordan Medeiros, 26, was biking with friends on Caron’s Loop Trail when he hit a rock, flipped over the handlebars of his bike, and landed hard on his upper body, causing serious but nonlife-threatening injuries, the Fish and Game Department said in a news release.
One of the other bikers called 911, and a conservation officer, firefighters, and EMS personnel responded to the scene. He was then taken to Androscoggin Valley Hospital for treatment, the release said.
Conservation officers determined that the primary causes of the crash were dusty conditions that impaired Medeiros’s vision and inattentive riding.
A Saturday crash that injured an adult happened around 7:30 p.m. in Franklin when 48-year-old Tim McCullough lost control of his ATV while driving across his neighbor’s driveway, the Fish and Game Department said in a news release. The ATV tipped over, seriously injuring McCullough.
McCullough was driving home after helping his neighbors on Smith Hill Road when the crash happened, the release said. The neighbor’s child eventually found McCullough and told an adult, who then called 911.
Conservation officers, police, and firefighters responded to the crash and took McCullough to Franklin Hospital for treatment, the release said. Conservation officers are still investigating the cause of the crash but said McCullough wasn’t wearing a helmet at the time.
Another crash that injured an adult happened sometime Saturday evening in Antrim when 31-year-old Alexander Smith failed to negotiate uneven terrain, causing the ATV he was driving to roll over, the Fish and Game Department said in a news release.
At the time, Smith had a female passenger and was driving off-trail near Mulhall Farm Road. Smith seriously injured his lower left leg in the crash, but his passenger was uninjured, the release said.
Conservation officers, police, fire, and other EMS personnel responded to the crash and took Smith to Concord Hospital for treatment.
Conservation officers later determined that Smith had been driving on private property that he did not have permission to be driving on, and neither Smith nor his passenger were wearing helmets at the time of the crash, the release said.
In the wake of these crashes, the Fish and Game Department is reminding everyone to always wear the appropriate safety equipment, drive a safe speed, ride within your capabilities, stay on approved trails, and stay alert to potential hazards when driving off-highway recreational vehicles.
For more information on how to ride these vehicles safely, visit the department’s website.
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