Area boy is critical following ATV crash


Published: Saturday, January 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, December 31, 2004 at 10:58 p.m.
A Wellborn boy was in critical condition Friday after he drove an all-terrain vehicle into the path of a semi-tractor truck on County Road 137 in Suwannee County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Cody James Creech, 9, was driving a Honda ATV under the supervision of his grandfather on the family-owned Ironwood Preserve about 12:30 p.m., FHP spokesman Lt. Mike Burroughs said. The grandfather was not on the ATV at the time of the crash.
Cody approached CR 137, about nine miles south of Live Oak, stopped and checked traffic before crossing the road, according to the FHP. Andrew Footman Jr., 39, of Tallahassee was driving a truck southbound on CR 137 and saw the ATV enter the road ahead and slammed on his brakes and swerved to the left, an FHP report said.
Despite Footman's attempts to avoid a collision, Cody was struck by the truck and was ejected several feet away from the ATV. The boy was not wearing a helmet or protective gear, Burroughs said.
Cody was airlifted to Shands at the University of Florida and remained in critical condition Friday night.
There were no other injuries and the accident is under investigation, Burroughs said.
This was the second ATV crash in Suwannee County in recent days. Suwannee County correctional deputy Joseph King of Live Oak died Dec. 22 after he lost control of the ATV he was riding on the south shoulder of U.S. 90.
King, who was off duty at the time of the accident, lost control of the ATV when he hit a culvert and the vehicle struck a tree. He later died of his injuries at Shands at UF.
Burroughs noted that under state law, ATVs are not recognized as a motor vehicle. Driving them on or near city, county or state-maintained roadways, including the shoulder, is illegal.
As more ATVs are being given as holiday gifts, people must adhere to the instructions provided by the manufacturer, which advise that only people older than age 16 should operate them, Burroughs said. Younger drivers should be fully equipped with helmets, goggles and gloves, he added.
"We're really concerned about ATVs and other off-road vehicles," Burroughs said. "There's a lot of potential for serious injury or death any time these off-road vehicles are driven on the road."
Deborah Ball can be reached at (352) 374-5036 or balld@ gvillesun.com.

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