Four separate all-terrain vehicle accidents over the weekend that resulted in two deaths and two people seriously injured has prompted public safety officials to urge caution for those visiting off-roading destinations.
A 57-year-old Millard County resident died Saturday after he rolled his four-wheeler and became pinned between the vehicle and a cedar tree while riding about 11:30 a.m. on the back of Sand Mountain at Little Sahara Recreation Area, said Lisa Reid, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Land Management in Fillmore.
The man was riding in an area with steep inclines, Reid said. He started riding around a hill and realized he didn't have enough momentum to make it around, Reid said. He tried to correct the situation but when he turned, the vehicle rolled, she said.
The man's wife, who was riding on the back of the four-wheeler, flew off, but survived the accident. Neither was wearing a helmet. He died at the scene, Reid said.
On Sunday, a 32-year-old Cedar City woman died after her four-wheeler overturned near Panguitch Lake in Garfield County. The woman's husband told the Garfield County Sheriff's Office that the two were turkey hunting on the Cooper Peak trail about 11:30 a.m. when the woman reached a rocky part of the trail and lost control of her ATV. She was not wearing a helmet and suffered head injuries, said Garfield County Sheriff Danny Perkins. She died at the scene.
Two other serious four-wheeler accidents were reported Sunday -- one at Little Sahara and one near Saratoga Springs in Utah County.
A 30-year-old woman from Spanish Fork was riding a four-wheeler three quarters of a mile west of Sand Mountain over rolling hills, Reid said. The woman's four-wheeler flipped about 10:40 a.m. She broke both legs and suffered a back injury, Reid said. She was transported to Utah Valley Hospital.
A 50-year-old West Jordan woman was injured Sunday about 10:30 a.m. when her ATV rolled west of State Road 68, said Utah County sheriff's Deputy Collin Gordon. The woman was climbing a steep hill and wasn't wearing a helmet when her four-wheeler overturned, he said.
"We're not sure if she lost traction or power to the machine. Something caused the machine to roll backwards," Gordon said. The woman injured her leg, neck and shoulder, but is expected to recover, he said.
Names of the accident victims were not released, pending notification of family members.
Saturday's fatality at the Little Sahara Sand Dunes marked the second involving a four-wheeler this year.
Former Utah Rep. Bill Orton, 60, died April 18 when the mountain-type ATV he was riding went off a steep dune and crashed. Orton was wearing a helmet.
Reid said it's important that visitors to the dunes inspect where they are riding before they choose to drive four-wheelers at high speeds. She emphasized the importance of safety gear and knowing the limitations of machinery.
"Know whether your bike is fast enough to go up a bowl. It is very different than riding on flat ground or rocks," she said.
Perkins said the weekend accidents are a reminder to be cautious when riding four-wheelers. He reminded ATV riders to obey traffic rules and to wear helmets.
Gordon said people need to know their ATV abilities before taking on areas that are too challenging.
"Take a good self-assessment of your riding abilities and the terrain you're going into. Make sure you're not going into an area that your abilities can't handle," he said.