Mother continues pleading for stronger ATV safety measures after son’s death

Local News

PHARR, Texas (ValleyCentral) — All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV) can be fun for some, but others are warning the public how dangerous and deadly they can be to children.

DHR Health Trauma Surgeon Dr. Jeffery Skubic said ATVs can flip over even with four wheels and unfortunately he sees patients from that type of accident far too often.

“At least once a week here at our hospital.” Dr. Skubic adds, “the injuries are sometimes really severe and many times are pediatric patients, even small pediatric patients. We see young passengers, even adolescents or teens as the drivers and no helmets.”

The injuries Dr. Skubic described range from mild to severe despite the age of the patient.  

“The ones that always come to us are the ones that roll over and they roll over and either get a head trauma or an extremity fracture,” said Dr. Skubic. 

Priscilla Chapa knows the pain first hand after losing her 7-year-old son, Giancarlo Guerrero last year in an ATV accident. 

“It was at night and my son was sitting directly behind me and we came across a tall grass and we fell into a canal, going maybe 25 mph,” said Chapa.

Chapa said she suffered injuries but they don’t compare to the death of her son.

“I fractured my bottom jaw, I had multiple broken ribs, broken fingers I fractured my foot in two different places and none of that compares to the pain I have for the rest of my life,” said Chapa.

As for parents or family members that take their kids on the ATV rides, Chapa said they shouldn’t. She also started a foundation in her son’s name to help families whose children went through the same thing she did.

“There’s no other thing that I can say but don’t do it, it’s not worth it. It might seem like a lot of fun at the moment but it’s not worth the pain of a lifetime to never see your child again,” said Chapa. 

Kenny Cantu, the General Manager of F&T Valley Motorsports, explains what parents should look for before buying ATVs. 

“The different ATVs from the manufacturer will already come with stickers labeled on them saying the age requirement,” said Cantu.

Cantu said all drivers should wear helmets and body padding that can help you if your ATV rolls over. 

“If a rollover does happen, stay inside the cage and hold onto the grab handles. A lot of those units already have grab handles for those reasons,” said Cantu.

Dr. Skubic said ATV rollovers are a part of their top 5 causes for trauma and he urges people to be cautious when driving them, especially with children. 

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