Two young girls still hospitalized from ATV accident

Recovering in Orlando hospital


North of Fellsmere, down a long dirt road and around a bend sits a dark green ATV.


It looks a bit banged up.


Investigators say it's the ATV 11-year-old Taylor Smith was riding Sunday night. It's only designed for a single rider, but there were two other girls on board at the time, a 12-year-old family friend, and Taylor's younger sister, 6-year-old Madison.


"At one point she was trying to turn and over compensated, throwing all of the three young ladies off the ATV," said Sgt. Tom Raulen with the Indian River County Sheriff's Office.


The oldest girl was not seriously hurt but the Smith sisters are both in an Orlando hospital. Taylor Smith has a fractured jaw, Madison Smith with serious head trauma.


Investigators don't believe any laws were broken and this was just an accident, however none of the girls had helmets on.


"Not that the helmet is always going to save your life, but the majority of the time it will help," said Battalion Chief Cory Richter with Indian River Fire-Rescue.


Richter also serves as chairman of the statewide EMS Advisory Council. Its goal is injury prevention, but he says efforts to strengthen state helmet laws always meet with resistance.


Right now, the law states anyone under 16 has to wear a helmet on a motorcycle, ATV, or bicycle. 


"But there's no real enforcement.  How do you enforce that with the 8-year-old kid who's riding his bike? asks Richter.


In the case of Sunday's accident, the girls on the ATV were not out on a county road so helmets were not mandatory.  

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