An accident in Northeastern Miami County about a week ago sent a pair of brothers to the hospital in critical condition, according to reports. The two brothers, aged 13 and 18, were riding an all-terrain vehicle near 223rd Street and Switzer Road, close to Bucyrus, when the accident occurred amidst rush hour traffic on a Monday.
The vehicle, like other ATVs, does not have an enclosed driver or passenger’s compartment; rather, the top of the 4-wheel automobile resembles that of a motorcycle, with very little protection for occupants. Therefore, risk of injury is much higher in an ATV than a normal automobile, particularly if the ATV collides with a standard car or truck, as in this case. It is not clear whether the boys were wearing helmets, but it seems unlikely.
At around 5:17 p.m. last Monday, the 13-year-old boy, who was driving the vehicle, blew through a stop sign while driving himself and his little brother around on the ATV. It is not known if the boys’ parents knew where they were. John Butel, 56, did not see them coming and the ATV and 2004 Chevrolet truck collided in the street, sending the kids flying.
Butel says that he was driving home from work at the time of the accident. After recovering from his shock of hitting the ATV, he said, he parked his vehicle, called 911 and went over to try to help the children. Other drivers who were passing the scene also stopped and offered assistance. Butel says that the children were moaning on the ground after the accident.
“The four-wheeler hit the driver’s (side) front corner of my truck. I couldn’t stop in time,” said Butel, choking back tears in a media interview “It bothers me dearly that I’m involved in something like that with some kids. I was driving, I hit them… I sure didn’t mean to,” said the Kentucky native. It is not known if he visited the boys in the hospital.
The brothers were taken to to Children’s Mercy Hospital on the Plaza by Miami County Emergency Medical Services. One was flown to the hospital in a helicopter, while the other was taken in an ambulance. They were at first listed as in critical condition, and both were undergoing surgeries to fix lacerations and broken bones. Their injuries are not life-threatening, according to reports. It is not known whether they have been released yet.
Burtel told the media that he just wanted the kids to get better. “(I hope) that the kids are going to be OK and fine and back to normal,” he commented, saying he would not be sleeping well until he knew that they were alright.
The two brothers’ names have not been released because of their ages and the nature of the incident. It is not known if the 13-year-old will face a traffic violation charge for running the stop sign or operating a vehicle on a road without a license. The brothers are known to be residents of Bucyrus.