Two juveniles were airlifted to St. Louis hospitals after they were ejected from the Polaris side-by-side utility task vehicle (UTV) they were riding Sunday evening in Plainview, according to authorities.
Macoupin County Sheriff Shawn Kahl says Donald Ruyle, 44 of Plainview, was the only adult occupying the UTV with four juveniles at 6:14 p.m. when the accident was reported to Macoupin County 911. Kahl said Ruyle along with four juveniles, ages 4 years, 8 years, 11 years and 12 years, were occupying the utility vehicle on Walker Road when the accident occurred and the 12-year-old was reportedly the operator. The juveniles were not identified.
The accident occurred on Walker Road approximately 1.75 miles north of Illinois Route 16 and approximately 1 mile east of Spanish Needle Road. First responders had to plot the location of the accident based on pinging of the caller’s phone because of poor cell reception in the area.
“It’s really a terrible situation,” Sheriff Kahl told TheBenGilPost.com Monday morning. “We had to plot the location of the call because 911 dispatch loss contact with the caller when the accident was reported due to poor mobile coverage in the area. Three riders were in the front seat and two riders were in the dump bed on the UTV and the two in the back of the vehicle were ejected when the side-by-side rolled over.”
Sheriff Kahl said Ruyle was riding in the front seat with the 4-year-old and 12-year-old operator while the 8-year-old and 11-year-old were riding in the dump bed. Kahl listed the condition of the 11-year-old airlifted from the scene as critical adding that the juvenile was unconscious when sheriff deputies arrived on scene. The 8-year-old’s condition was listed as stable.
Walker Road turns into a rough road, according to Kahl. “It turns into a dirt road and gets washed out in many areas. It has many ruts from utility vehicles mudding on the road. We are being told the driver hit a large rut and lost control of the vehicle.”
Assisting the Macoupin County Sheriff’s Office on scene included two medical helicopters from AirMethods, Gillespie-Benld Area Ambulance Service, Gillespie Police Department, and Gillespie Fire Department.
The Macoupin County Sheriff’s Office is leading the on-going investigation.
A candlelight prayer will be held on Monday evening at the Coal Country Sports Complex in Gillespie at 7 p.m. to pray for the injured juveniles. Gillespie Police Chief Jared DePoppe is reportedly leading the prayer. Anyone attending is asked to bring a candle.