COLLINSVILLE, IL (KMOV) — The Fourth of July weekend brings fireworks, cookouts and celebrations. But it also brings the highest number of fatalities on off-highway vehicles for teenagers.
According to the OHV Safety Coalition, the holiday is the deadliest day of the year for ATV and UTV accidents.
On the day Lexi DiMarco lost her life on a UTV, there was snow on the ground. December 16 was the day life changed for the DiMarco family.
“My only child, my best friend,” recalls Kristi DiMarco, her mom. “I knew nothing about it until 20 minutes after the accident happened and I got my first phone call.”
DiMarco had no idea her 14-year-old daughter was riding a UTV on the levee on a snowy day.
According to a civil lawsuit filed by the DiMarco’s, their daughter was with a friend and her family. The adults were riding behind them. They were riding near the levee near Route 157 in Collinsville. The UTV flipped and Lexi was pinned underneath. She died at the hospital.
“Why weren’t they wearing helmets?” asks DiMarco. It’s one of several questions she still seeks answers to.
She said the civil lawsuit is not about money but about justice and answers.
“She’s been my whole life since I was 22 years old, so I need that closure,” she said.
From 2013-2019, there have been 4,000 deaths on OHVs. In Illinois, they have some of the loosest laws regarding these off-road vehicles. There is no helmet requirement and there is no age restriction. DiMarco wants to warn other parents and teens of the dangers.
“It never should have happened,” DiMarco said.
According to the experts, there are some critical steps before using an off-road vehicle:
• Never operate an OHV on a road.
• Never permit children younger than 16 years old to operate an adult-size OHV or any OHV that is too large or too powerful for them
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