Man dies in UTV crash in Gilchrist County

The vehicle was being driven by an 8-year-old girl and the man was not wearing a seatbelt
Published: Jan. 2, 2023 at 5:09 PM EST
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GILCHRIST COUNTY, Fla. (WCJB) - An 8-year-old girl was driving a UTV when it toppled and killed the 34-year-old man riding with her.

The accident occurred in an open field on County Road 138, less than 10 miles southwest of Fort White.

“Details about the crash are still very limited, but it’s raising concerns among people who drive UTVs that some people are not careful enough with them.

“Just shocked and stunned somebody would let an 8-year-old drive one of those things,” said Otto Wingfield, who owns a UTV himself. “I guess it’s just lack of education or information, right? That’s the only thing I can think of.”

According to a report from Florida Highway Patrol, the man was not wearing a seatbelt or a helmet when he was thrown from the vehicle.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The girl driving the vehicle was wearing a seat belt and sustained only minor injuries.

“I’ve let my grandson drive, but he’s got to keep it under a certain limit,” said another UTV owner Jackie Brothers. “When you get to messing around it’s time to pull the plug on the kid and tell them ‘no more for a while.’”

Brothers told me there is no reason a child should be driving a UTV recklessly.

She and another UTV owner explained what they believe people can do to exercise more caution.

“I’m always watching for vehicles behind me,” said Brothers. No I don’t always them, but before making any turns I am checking all directions several times...It’s just, be aware of your surroundings.”

“I mean anyone that’s driving one should watch some safety videos and anybody who’s thinking about purchasing one should really do some research,” said Wingfield.

FHP troopers are still investigating the cause of the crash and have not released the names of those involved.

Both were from Tampa but their relationship to each other is unknown.

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