Driver who hit two McMinn County ATV riders: "They came out of nowhere"
MCMINN COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -
Two people, including a 12-year-old boy, are seriously injured after a crash involving an ATV and a truck. It happened around 5 p.m. Monday at the intersection of County Road 700 and 758 in Riceville.
Police say Christopher Dawson and a 12-year-old were riding the ATV when they ran a stop sign and collided with the truck. Neither of the passengers were wearing helmets.
The 18-year-old driving the truck says he came around a bend only to meet the ATV carrying the 12-year-old driver and his 23-year-old passenger. Despite the trauma of the accident, he still jumped into action to help the two victims.
"It just happened so quick," says Joshua Yates.
18-year-old Joshua Yates says he had just dropped his younger sister off at his mother's work and was driving down Highway 700 in Riceville, when all of the sudden he says an ATV "appeared out of nowhere," coming off Highway 758.
"I was driving just normal and the four wheeler just ran right out in front of me. By the time I hit by brakes, I hit them. It was just that quick. It was just too quick," says Yates.
Skid marks on the pavement show where Joshua slammed on his brakes, trying to stop. He says the impact threw the 12-year-old driver off the ATV but his 23-year-old passenger, Christopher Dawson, was pinned under his truck.
"I remember most, almost all of it. I just got out and they were screaming. I just called the cops and helped them," says Yates.
Joshua says the impact severed one of Dawson's legs. He quickly got some rope out of his truck to tie off his leg and stop the bleeding.
"The boy was screaming. I just called the cops and jumped down and put that tourniquet on that guy. Just tried to help them. I didn't know what was going on," he says.
Soon after, emergency responders arrived. The 12 year-old and Dawson were airlifted to a Chattanooga hospital.
For Joshua, the hardest part is dealing with the situation being out of his control.
"Just knowing I couldn't do nothing to stop it," says Yates.
He also says it is hard because the accident did not have to happen.
"I love four wheelers. I love them. Don't ride on the road. Ride on somebody's field, go ask somebody to ride. Don't ride on the roads," says Yates.
He says he is praying for the recovery of both victims.
"I just hope nothing really bad happens to them. I don't know why this happened," says Yates.
In Tennessee, it is against the law to travel on public highways on an ATV unless you are crossing one to get to other property. It is also the law that any rider under 18 must wear a helmet.
At last check, Christopher Dawson is in critical condition. Since the ATV driver is a minor, his condition has not been released. The crash is still under investigation. Yates will most likely not face any charges.