ENOCH — Five teenagers were taken to the hospital Friday night following a rollover crash on a residential street in Enoch involving a side-by-side utility vehicle.
Enoch Police Chief Jackson Ames told Cedar City News the boys and girls in the group, all of whom are approximately 14 years old, were riding in the vehicle as it headed northbound on Driftwood Lane shortly before 10:30 p.m.
“We’re not exactly sure how, but they tried to navigate that turn, and somehow they ended up rolling the side-by-side at the corner of Driftwood and Appaloosa,” Ames said.
“To varying degrees, all of them had some injuries, Ames added. “It’s my understanding that all of them did go get checked out at the hospital. “There was some concern about a possible head injury with one of them.”
Ames said on Saturday afternoon the teens are all reportedly doing well and are expected to recover.
Friday night at the scene at about 11 p.m., shortly after the injured teens had all been transported to Cedar City Hospital for treatment and evaluation, Cedar City News observed impact damage to both a power box and a wooden log fence at the northeast corner of N. Driftwood Lane and Appaloosa Loop (see map at left for location of crash).
Meanwhile, the UTV vehicle, an older model Polaris four-seater, had been tipped back upright and moved a short distance to the east. It had sustained visible damage to its front end, roll bars, and other parts.
Ames said an Enoch City ordinance allows individuals to drive ATVs, UTVs and other such off-road vehicles on city streets, “but with the caveat that they need to be heading outside the city limits to a place where they can legally ride.”
Additionally, Ames said the ordinance states that such drivers may not exceed 20 miles per hour when operating such vehicles.
“Now, if they have a side-by-side that’s considered street legal, then they technically can just obey the regular traffic laws and speed limits. But if they’re not, they need to go under 20 miles an hour.”
“One other thing I try to educate kids on as well, is that these ATVs and side-by-sides aren’t really designed to be driven on asphalt,” Ames added. “They’re designed to be driven on gravel dirt roads. I think sometimes these younger kids, when they’re driving them on asphalt, they tend to drive them like they’re on a gravel dirt road. When they do that, that’s when things like this can happen.”
“I think we need to be mindful of the fact that they really are designed to be driven off-road or on gravel, primarily,” the chief added.
Off-road vehicle users are also encouraged to wear helmets and buckle their seat belts, Ames added, noting that state law requires that helmets be worn by any drivers or riders under age 18.
Additionally, Ames said he highly recommends that all ATV and UTV users take the state’s Off-Highway Vehicle safety course that youth in Utah are required to take in order to obtain a permit.
“They can take it online,” Ames said. “It teaches them a lot of good information. I highly encourage everybody to get it, even if you’re an adult, ”
Ames said many youth do not have much experience in operating a vehicle.
“They don’t have that experience of knowing how a vehicle feels, turning and manipulating it quite like it like (adults) do,” he said. “They’re learning.”
Ames said he spoke with the officers who investigated Friday’s crash and said it does not appear that the teen who was driving the Polaris will be cited.
“My feeling, and after talking to them, was that the accident itself was probably consequence enough,” Ames said. “They probably did learn a lesson and I don’t believe that we’re going to issue a citation, but I’m not 100% sure on that.”
For more information about the state’s Off-Highway Vehicle registration and permits, visit the Utah State Parks website.
This report is based on information provided by law enforcement and may not contain the full scope of findings.
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