SAREPTA – A Sarepta woman died in an ATV crash at Muddy Bottoms ATV and Recreation Park over the weekend.
Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton says Jill Thomas, 40, died around 2:45 a.m. Sunday morning when she apparently crashed her four-wheeler into a tree.
“She and a passenger were following some people on a trail and got behind, from what we were told,” Sexton said. “The group waited and when they didn’t show up, they went back to check on them and found they’d hit a tree. Apparently, it killed her instantly.”
Thomas had a passenger with her, Holly Holtzclaw, 33, also of Sarepta, who was airlifted to University Health in Shreveport with serious injuries.
“She was responsive and talking to deputies,” he said.
The Webster Parish Coroner pronounced Thomas dead at the scene, and toxicology samples were taken. Sexton says they believe alcohol may have been a factor, but at this point, it is too early to say.
“It could be a few weeks before the toxicology results are back,” he said, adding there is no indication Thomas or Holtzclaw were wearing any safety devices, such as a helmet.
“The manufacturers encourage you to wear safety devices, but she may not have been wearing any,” he said.
Sexton says it is important to heed the warnings and instructions provided by manufacturers as they are safety suggestions and rules for all riders. The most important thing, he said, is using common sense.
“Muddy Bottoms is a private entity, and the biggest thing is to read the rules and
regulations,” he said. “One of your number one safety factors is just use common sense – speed, alcohol use, keeping your machine in good working shape. It’s just like getting into a vehicle and going somewhere with your family. They put those warnings on there for a reason.”
Sexton says the incident remains under investigation.