A tragedy has shaken the Bush community in St. Tammany Parish, where two young girls were injured after crashing an ATV into a tree on Saturday afternoon (August 19), as reported by the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office.
Sadly, one of the girls, a 12-year-old, passed away early Sunday at the New Orleans Children's Hospital after being transferred there following initial treatment at a hospital in St. Tammany County. The other girl, 13 years old, also sustained injuries in the accident.
The St. Tammany County Coroner's Office identified the deceased victim as Payton Strain and stated that "preliminary indications" suggest she was operating the ATV at the time of the crash.
According to Sheriff Randy Smith's office, the girls were riding a four-wheel ATV in the Grande Hills neighborhood near Bush around 7 p.m. on Saturday when, for reasons still under investigation, the vehicle veered off the road and collided with a tree.
The crash took place along Churchill Downs Drive, south of Hialeah Drive.
"This is every parent's worst fear," Smith said in a statement. "When a child is involved in a tragic accident, it affects the entire community. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of both girls."
Family members of Strain told Fox 8 that they were not able to speak after the tragic accident.
"She had such a sweet soul," said a relative to Fox 8. "We are completely shocked."
A gofundme account has been established to help Strain's family with funeral arrangements and expenses for the girl.
The older girl injured in the accident was Payton's best friend, according to a relative. She was recovering from her injuries, and the relative described her as "stable and in good spirits."
St. Tammany County Coroner Dr. Charles Preston stated, "All too often, families are devastated by accidents involving ATVs, especially those that gravely injure or claim the lives of children. The staff of the coroner's office joins me, the victim's family, and friends in mourning this loss of life and in urging parents to take the utmost precautions when allowing children to operate an ATV alone or without close supervision."
This incident was the second fatal ATV accident in the region in less than a month.
On July 24, two teenage boys were involved in a fiery ATV accident in the city of Loranger, in Tangipahoa County. Authorities reported that a 14-year-old boy died and a 13-year-old boy was injured when they lost control of an ATV on Gilderport Road and crashed into a canal and several fence posts.
The mother of the 14-year-old boy in that accident also suffered severe burns on both arms while trying to free her son from under the destroyed ATV, which burst into flames after the crash.
Originally posted at Abogados de Choques