"It was a horrific scene. We had a lot of family members there yelling and screaming," Dougherty said.
36-year-old Edward Lagenfield had been riding an ATV with his nine-year-old nephew, Kenneth Bird Jr. The two were coming around a corner when Lagenfield struck a tree, and then a stump.
"He [Lagenfield] had been ejected, and he suffered a collapsed lung and broken ribs," Dougherty said. The nine-year-old had been ejected, too. He had serious, visible head injuries.
Sheriff Dougherty says the nine-year-old was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, and that Lagenfield wasn't drunk or speeding. All of those reasons combined are why he won't be facing any charges.
"He did the right thing, and had the helmet on him, but he had the accident, and hit a tree, which ejected the both of them," Dougherty said. He added that he believes the boy's helmet was a life saver. "I firmly believe this child would not be here. I feel it would have been a fatal if this child were not wearing a helmet."
Lagenfield wasn't wearing a helmet at the time. That's not a crime, but Dougherty says it's not a good idea.
"If families could see that situation, not that it would be a pleasant situation, but I guarantee they would wear helmets and practice safety," he said.
Kenneth Bird Jr. is listed in guarded condition tonight. Lagenfield is in stable condition. Both are expected to survive.
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