An ATV race in rural Wildwood turned fatal Sunday afternoon when one of the drivers apparently lost control, veered into spectators and killed a 2-year-old child, according to authorities.

The accident happened while a 28-year-old Wildwood man was racing with other four-wheelers along County Road 235 near NE 6th Boulevard.

The Florida Highway Patrol said that there have been several races in the area in recent weeks.

The FHP believes that the man lost control of his four-wheeler and hit the spectators. The FHP had initially reported that the man had swerved when a child ran into the road, but investigators now discount that theory.

The man struck a 56-year-old Leesburg man and the 2-year-old. The 2-year-old was taken to Shands Hospital and later died of his injuries. The 65-year-old was taken to Ocala Regional Medical Center with serious injuries. The two are not related.

driving an ATVThe driver of the ATV was ejected from the four-wheeler and taken to Ocala Regional Medical Center with serious injuries.

Court records indicate that the ATV driver has been adjudicated guilty in the past for driving with a suspended license, speeding and reckless driving. He also faced charges in 2005 for aggravated assault with a motor vehicle.

While ATVs can be great fun for children and adults alike, the truth is that these recreational vehicles are the cause for thousands upon thousands of personal injuries and, as this case shows, the deaths of children. Statistics show that every year there are more than 100,000 visits to the emergency room due to injuries and deaths attributed to ATV use. There are dangers both when an adult or child operates an ATV or when an adult or child is a passenger of an ATV. At any moment, an operator or passenger can fall off of an ATV or strike something and become ejected. This can be especially dangerous if the operator or passenger is not wearing a helmet, the ATV is being operated at a high rate of speed or is taking a sharp turn and when the ATV is being operated on rugged terrain.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a Villages ATV accident that was caused by another person’s negligence, contact the Villages Injury and Wrongful Death Lawyers at Whittel & Melton immediately for a free consultation at 352-369-5334 or contact us online. We will make sure that your rights are protected.