The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is investigating a pair of ATV accidents that resulted in serious injuries on the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area Saturday evening.
The first of the two accidents occurred at around 5 p.m. Saturday, when a side-by-side ATV hit a tree. TWRA wildlife officer Dustin Burke of Oneida and several other officers were conducting ATV enforcement in the Flatwood Road area of the WMA when they were flagged down by a rider who informed them of the nearby accident.
Officers arrived on the scene to discover the driver of the ATV seriously inured. A passenger who was onboard the ATV was not injured.
The officers provided first aid to the victim while coordinating with EMS and Rescue Squad personel to transport them to a landing zone for Lifestar. From there, the driver was airlifted to University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville.
Neither occupant of the ATV was wearing a helmet, but both were wearing seatbelts, according to TWRA. Officers believe that alcohol may have been a factor in the accident.
Officers traveled to Knoxville to interview the driver at UTMC. While at the hospital, they learned that a driver of another ATV had been airlifted following a second accident on the wildlife management area.
An investigation continues into both accidents.
The sprawling North Cumberland WMA consists of more than 150,000 acres in Scott, Campbell, Anderson, Morgan and Claiborne counties. It has exploded in popularity with ATV riders in recent years, attracting off-road tourists from across the eastern United States.