East Texas Family Files Wrongful Death Suit Against ATV Company
It's been almost three months since an East Texas couple lost their nine-year-old son in an ATV accident. On June 22nd, J.T. Crow of Winnsboro was killed when the Yamaha Rhino he was riding in rolled over at a slow speed, pinning him underneath. It's a tragedy that has prompted Crow's family to bring awareness to the dangers of Yamaha Rhino's by filing a wrongful death suit against the company.
Pictures of J.T. Crow, 9 fill his families' Winnsboro home, photographs that show a happy energetic boy.
"He loved sports," said J.T's mother Heidi Crow. "He loved sports. He loved outdoors. He was a straight A student, academic excellence, never missed a day of school" J.T. was visiting his grandparents in Jasper in June when the accident happened. He was riding with his 12 year old sister, who was driving the family's Yamaha Rhino", going 15 miles per hour. Neither child was wearing a helmet.
"They were going a short distance from our farm house at a very low speed," said Crow. "Our daughter went to make a turn and the Rhino flipped on to J.T. causing severe trauma to his head. My parents were right there." J.T.'s mother says she had no idea how dangerous the Rhinos were until she started researching other reports of injuries. Crow says the ATV's top-heavy design and small tires make it especially prone to rollovers. That's why Crow and her husband are filing a wrongful death suit against Yamaha.
"I think it will force a change," said Crow. "I think it will change the the way, the things we know about the Yamaha, and I also think will have a hand in forcing them to make a change in the design of the machine." Some changes are already going into place. Just last month, Yamaha announced it will install doors and passenger handholds for the Rhino ATV for free. Those doors are meant to prevent riders from sticking out arms or legs during rollover accidents. Crow says she's happy to see Yamaha recognize the dangers, but says the company is not going far enough. '
"Doors and handholds are not going to solve the stability problem of the ATV," said Crow. A problem she wants to see fixed, so no one else goes through this loss.
"I can't let this happen to another child," said Crow. "That's the way I feel."
Yamaha would not comment on the lawsuit because it is still ongoing. In October, the Crow's are holding an ATV Awareness Walk in Winnsboro, hoping to educate parents on the dangers of ATV's.