Conservation Officer Matthew Holmes
July 5, 2022
North Stratford, NH – On the afternoon of Saturday, July 2, 2022, a 14-year-old ATV operator was injured after going off of the trail and down an embankment near Stratford Bog. At approximately 2:15 p.m., the minor (who is a New Hampshire resident) was in a group of OHRVs (Off Highway Recreational Vehicles) traveling eastbound from Stratford Bog. While negotiating a downhill section of trail, the youth operator hit a large tree branch that was lying partly in the trail. Upon hitting the branch, the handlebars of the ATV jerked abruptly, causing the machine to go off of the trail and down over an embankment. The operator was thrown from the machine during this incident and sustained multiple injuries.
Following the crash, the operator quickly crawled back up to the trail to get help. Due to her immediate attempt to signal for help, the operator was quickly encountered by other members of her riding party. (The involved machine had gone far enough down the embankment that it was not easily visible from the trail.) There was no cell phone coverage at the crash scene, so the operator was assisted into another OHRV and driven to Trailside Lodge in North Stratford. Once at the lodge, a call for help was placed on her behalf.
Upon receiving word of the crash, personnel from North Stratford Fire, Groveton EMS, and New Hampshire Fish and Game responded to assist the young woman. After an initial checkup by EMS providers, the operator was taken by Groveton Ambulance to Weeks Medical Center in Lancaster for further evaluation and treatment of serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
As a result of an investigation into this incident, it was learned that the operator involved was an experienced rider who had taken an OHRV safety course. She was wearing good, well-fitted safety gear from head to toe, which certainly prevented her from sustaining more serious injuries.