Conservation Officer Matthew Holmes
September 14, 2020
Berlin, NH – On the afternoon of Friday, September 11, 2020, a Massachusetts man sustained injuries after driving his rented Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) into a bridge abutment along the Presidential Rail Trail.
At approximately 2:15 p.m., Jeramie Burgos Hollins, 29, of Worcester, Massachusetts, was riding in a line of UTVs headed south from Berlin toward the town of Gorham. At a location adjacent to a Berlin Water Treatment Facility, Burgos Hollins lost his view of the trail due to a heavy dust cloud created by the machines in front of him. As a result of this, Burgos Hollins inadvertently drove into a steel bridge abutment. Upon hitting the abutment, Burgos Hollins sustained injuries to his upper body, and his rented vehicle was significantly damaged. Following the crash, Burgos Hollins was placed into another UTV and driven back to Northeast Snowmobile and ATV Rentals in the town of Gorham where he reported the crash.
Following the crash, authorities received reports of the incident from staff at both the Berlin Water Treatment Facility and Northeast Snowmobile and ATV rentals. Officers from the Berlin Police Department, NH Fish and Game Department, and Gorham Police Department all assisted in the investigation. While the crash is still under investigation, it appears that dry, dusty trail conditions played a significant role in this incident.
Despite having had a little more precipitation than the rest of the state, New Hampshire’s North Country remains extremely dry. This has created extremely dusty conditions along dirt roads and OHRV trails. Officers patrolling the trails have seen an uptick in narrowly missed collisions as a result of dust clouds created by machine traffic in these dry conditions. Additionally, officers have repeatedly had riders report that they travel closely together to avoid losing contact with the “navigator” in their group. Authorities would like to remind OHRV enthusiasts to slow down, maintain a safe following distance between machines, and to wait for each other in visible areas off of the main trail bed.