Conservation Officer Eric Fluette
May 30, 2023

Millsfield, NH – On the late morning of Monday, May 29, 2023, at approximately 10:00 a.m., a Berlin, New Hampshire, man sustained fatal injuries after rolling a utility terrain vehicle (UTV) into a ditch while pulling a log alongside Millsfield Pond Road.

It was determined that 63-year-old, Robert Van Vlaanderen was gathering wood with a friend utilizing a winch and cable that was mounted to the front of the UTV. They had been winching and gathering wood for approximately 30 minutes in one direction. Van Vlaanderen then wanted to winch a specific log that required winching in the opposite direction. After repositioning the UTV, he began to drag the log alongside the road. During this time the UTV started to slowly slide towards a ditch.

Evidence and statements at the scene showed that there was sudden and non-purposeful acceleration while pulling the log with the UTV. This acceleration caused the machine to go over a small rock headwall around a culvert. The machine then rolled onto its side, causing fatal injuries to Van Vlaanderen.

Van Vlaanderen was prounounced deceased at the scene and was transported by Bryant’s Funeral Home. Errol Fire Department and Errol Rescue responded to the initial call and assisted in the recovery. New Hampshire Conservation Officer’s and New Hampshire State Police responded to the scene as well.

Conservation Officers believe that there were many factors in this crash, some of which were circumstantial. Van Vlaanderen was operating a machine that was not his own, he was not seat belted, and he did not have a helmet on at the time of the crash.