BUCKEYSTOWN, Md. - Authorities say a passenger of an all-terrain vehicle is dead and the driver is fighting for his life after they struck a car head-on in in Frederick County.
The crash happened at around 2:45 p.m. Monday on Michaels Mill Road in Buckeystown, between state roads 80 and 85.
The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office said there were two people riding on the four-wheel ATV traveling at a high rate of speed. The ATV crossed the center line of the road and hit a vehicle carrying a woman and her 12-year-old son. Both were hospitalized with minor injuries.
Officials said the driver of the ATV, identified as 29-year-old Kenneth M. Niblett, struck the windshield of the vehicle. Niblett was transported to Baltimore's Shock Trauma where he remains in critical condition. The passenger, identified as 21-year-old Chris W. Munday, was thrown over the car and landed on the road. Officers say Munday died at the scene.
Neither rider was wearing a helmet. The road around the ATV was littered with beer cans; something investigators would not comment about.
“Here in Frederick County, we do see a lot of ATVs on the roadway,” said Cpl. Bart Ruppenthal with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit. “We receive a lot of complaints about the riding of ATVs on the road illegally, riding on other people's property, illegally trespassing, causing damage.”
Ruppenthal said when he found out about the deadly crash this afternoon, he was on the phone with someone reporting that a different ATV had nearly caused a head-on crash elsewhere.
Like many other jurisdictions, Frederick County deputies have a policy not to chase after illegal ATV riders.
“It’s very challenging for us,” Ruppenthal said. “What we don't want to do is – you try to stop someone to educate them or get them off the roadway, and then they take off from you. They run from you and worse things could happen.”
While Frederick County is a rural area, illegal ATV riding has also plagued the D.C. metro region.
“What I've seen is disturbing to say the least,” said Astley Scott, who lives in Maryland. “I don't know why anyone would want to put themselves in that kind of danger.”
Currently, people caught illegally riding face low-level fines and minimal jail time.
“I think they need to stiffen penalties on these kinds of people and really send a message,” Scott said.
Lawmakers are looking for ways to crack down. On Monday evening, D.C. Councilmember Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) announced plans for a bill that would outlaw service stations from selling or dispensing fuel for ATVs and dirt bikes.