Two Oklahomans die in 4-wheeler crashes just hours apart

User: Brittany Harlow

Published: 3/23/20, 12:00 PM

(OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.) Spring is here, and for many Oklahomans that means brushing the dust off the ATVs and UTVs.

But two recent deaths highlight the continued need for driver and rider safety.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol said Mark Thomas, 28, of Maud was killed Saturday night just east of Old 99 in Seminole County.

We’re told he was driving a side-by-side west on County Road 1330 and went left of center, hitting a truck head-on.

The driver of the truck was not injured.

A little over three hours later, troopers said Dawn Dettlaff, 41, of Coyle, was driving an ATV southbound on Indian Meridian Road when she attempted a U-turn at State Highway 105, lost control and rolled the vehicle.

Dettlaff was not injured but her passenger, Candice Toombs, 32, of Guthrie, died at the scene.

We’re told Dettlaff smelled like alcohol. She was taken to the Logan County Jail.

Neither had been wearing a helmet.

ATV Ride Safe Oklahoma is a joint initiative led by The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital, Trauma One Injury Prevention at OU Medical Center and Oklahoma State Department of Health.

They recommend drivers and riders wear a DOT compliant helmet, goggles, a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, gloves, and over the ankle boots. The most important, of course, is the helmet. Studies have found wearing one can reduce the risk of death in a crash by 42%.

Additional recommendations include:

Never ride on paved roads. Cross safely and when permitted by law.

Never ride under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV, and no more than one passenger on an ATV specifically designed for two people.

Ride an ATV that’s right for your age.

Supervise riders younger than 16; ATVs are not toys.

Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.

ATV Ride Safe Oklahoma strongly encourages any person riding an ATV to take an ATV Safety Institute ATV RiderCourse. Course options include a hands-on ATV RiderCourse and a free online E-Course at ATVsafety.org

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends delaying ATV use until age 16.

You can find more information here: https://www.ok.gov/health/Prevention_and_Preparedness/Injury_Prevention_Service/All-Terrain_Vehicle_(ATV)_Safety/index.html

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