Authorities have said that the death of an 8-year-old boy from East Baton Rouge Parish was an accident and that no criminal charges would be filed. The boy died from personal injuries that he suffered when his ATV crashed on Wednesday. There was also a 7-year-old girl on the ATV with the boy at the time, but she only suffered minor injuries.
The accident occurred in a pasture near East Flonacher Road around 8 p.m. The children were being watched by the boy's grandmother at the time of the accident. Authorities believe that the boy lost control of the ATV and it flipped. Emergency crews rushed the boy and the girl to the hospital where the boy later died of his injuries.
This tragic accident raises several issues. There has been a longstanding debate regarding the appropriate age for children to operate ATVs. It is also unclear what protective gear, if any, the boy was wearing at the time of the crash. Operators of ATVs and motorcycles frequently fail to wear helmets. These motorists are usually thrown in the event of a crash and die of traumatic brain injuries or blunt force trauma.
Another serious question in regards to this accident is whether the grandmother will be liable for a wrongful death lawsuit from the parents of the children. A wrongful death action is a type of personal injury lawsuit brought the families of someone killed by another person's negligence. A wrongful death lawsuit may arise when a caretaker fails to properly watch after young children in his or her care and those children die as a result of this poor supervision.
Source: WAFB, "Authorities release name of boy killed on 4-wheeler," Joshua Auzenne, 7/14/11