Warden service investigating serious ATV accident

Posted June 29, 2011, at 4:12 p.m.

DENNISTOWN, Maine — The Maine Warden Service is blaming excessive speed for an ATV accident Saturday that caused a major concussion for a Norridgewock man.

Joseph Higgins, 24, was taking his first ride on a brand new ATV Saturday with his father, Adam Higgins, when the crash happened, according to Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife spokeswoman Edie Smith.

Higgins and his father were riding on a trail heading east from Route 201 on Cross Town Road in the Somerset County town of Dennistown. Joseph Higgins came over a rise and despite warning markers on the trail, failed to negotiate a sharp right-hand turn. The ATV rolled several times and Higgins was thrown from the machine. He was not wearing a helmet, according to a press release.

Higgins, who suffered from a head injury but no broken bones, was retrieved from the woods by rescue personnel, taken to The Forks by ambulance and then to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor by LifeFlight helicopter. He since has been released from the hospital.

An investigation by Game Warden Glenn Annis has determined that alcohol was not a factor in the crash, but that speed likely was, according to the press release. Smith said Annis also was trying to determine whether Higgins’ unfamiliarity with the new ATV or possibly a mechanical defect were factors in the crash. Smith was unsure whether Higgins was familiar with the portion of trail where the crash happened.

“The wardens are just basically rechecking all the facts,” said Smith. “One fact about this case is it was a brand-new ATV. Perhaps Mr. Higgins was unfamiliar with its operation, but that’s the type of thing we’re still looking into.”

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