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Neighbors urge for safety after off road vehicle crash leaves 8-year-old boy in critical condition

An eight-year-old boy is in critical condition after being involved in an off road vehicle crash. He was airlifted from St. Elizabeth East in Lafayette to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.

Posted: Aug 22, 2018 6:23 PM

Tippecanoe County, IND. (WLFI) - An eight-year-old boy is in critical condition after being involved in an off road vehicle (ORV) crash. He was airlifted from St. Elizabeth East in Lafayette to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.

The crash happened in Wea Creek near the 9000 block of south U.S. 231. That is just north of Romney.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources took over the investigation. They say the crash happened around 9 P.M. on Tuesday.

Half an hour after the sun had set.

They say the boy crashed into the creek that runs through private property. According to reports, he was submerged and pinned underwater for a period of time before being removed from the water.

Several neighbors in the area that we talked to recalled seeing a swarm of police and ambulances on the scene. A sight that is rare in this neighborhood.

Darrell Vanderzraff, who lives just up the road from where the incident took place, says at 9 P.M. Tuesday night, he was saying goodnight as his 10-year-old child went to bed.

So what was this boy doing driving an ORV at this hour?

“Water is very powerful and very unforgiving,” said Vanderzraff. “With off road vehicles, they tend to be heavy. I'm not sure what was involved with the incident, but should someone get trapped underneath there is a chance for drowning.”

Vanderzraff works for the Lafayette and Randolph Township Fire Departments. However, he said he was not one of the first responders on this scene.

"Off road vehicles in general, there are all kind of mysteries with terrain," he said.

With creeks swollen from recent rainfall combined with the inexperience of a young rider, Vanderzraff says the situation had many chances to go wrong.

"You add all that together and you got a recipe for disaster," he said.

Indiana has seen zero off road vehicle deaths since a law was passed a year ago requiring minors to wear helmets. And now this young boy is fighting for his life.

Vanderzraff has a message for other parents who let their children ride ORV’s.

“Watch, pay attention, teach safety, use safety equipment and make sure they are doing it right,” he warned.

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