12-year-old girl killed when ATV slams into tree, sheriff says

A bouquet of flowers rested Sunday (Aug. 20) at the wooded scene of an ATV crash near Bush...
A bouquet of flowers rested Sunday (Aug. 20) at the wooded scene of an ATV crash near Bush that claimed the life of 12-year-old Payton Strain.(WVUE-Fox 8)
Published: Aug. 21, 2023 at 11:50 AM CDT
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BUSH, La. (WVUE/Gray News) – A 12-year-old girl was killed and a 13-year-old girl was injured in an ATV crash in Louisiana.

The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office said the crash happened in the town of Bush on Saturday evening.

Officials identified the 12-year-old killed in the crash as Payton Strain, who was driving the vehicle.

Officials said the girls were riding in a four-wheel ATV when the vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree.

Payton died early Sunday at Children’s Hospital New Orleans.

The 13-year-old passenger injured in the crash was Payton’s best friend, a relative said. She was recovering from injuries but was described by the relative as “stable and in good spirits.”

Sheriff Randy Smith described the accident as “any parent’s worst nightmare.”

“Whenever a child is involved in a tragic accident, it affects the whole community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of both girls,” Smith said in a statement.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Payton’s family pay for her funeral.

This was the second fatal ATV crash in the region in less than a month.

On July 24, two young teen boys were involved in a fiery ATV crash in the town of Loranger. Authorities said a 14-year-old boy died and a 13-year-old was injured when they lost control of an ATV and struck a culvert and several fence posts.

St. Tammany Parish coroner Dr. Charles Preston said all too often, families are devastated by accidents involving ATVs.

“The Coroner’s office staff joins me and the victim’s family and friends and in mourning this loss of life and in urging parents to take the greatest possible precautions in allowing children to drive an ATV alone or without attentive supervision,” Preston said.