Mother of ATV victim presents her case on U.S. network

The mother of a girl killed in an all-terrain vehicle accident in Costa Rica was part of a presentation on ABC in “Brian Ross Investigates” Friday.

She is Jennifer Scalise, whose daughter, Brooke, died July 13, 2009, when the four-wheel machine she was driving went over a cliff while on an ATV tour at a Pacific coast location. The 12-year-old was driving one of the machines.

The ABC show reported that more than 10,000 people have died in ATV crashes in the United States since the federal government began keeping track. About a quarter of the dead are youngsters, the show said. About a half million machines are sold each year, it added.

Mrs. Scalise has been vigorous in promoting changes to the
law that would have protected youngsters like her daughter. She told ABC that the tour operator had allowed guides
under the age of 18 to lead the group of tourists, and they were traveling at high speed along a cliff top path without guardrails. As the pack rounded a sharp turn, Scalise heard a scream from her daughter’s friend up ahead, she said.

In an earlier story in A.M. Costa Rica she said “I am an extremely responsible mother, and had I thought there was serious risk of danger I would have never permitted my family to participate in this tour. We were never warned of any dangers, never signed a waiver, and the owner of the tour knew we had two 6 year olds and a 7 year old with us.”

The television show said that Mrs. Scalise has joined a group called Concerned Families for ATV Safety.

The main point of the show was to note that laws about who can drive an ATV varies widely among U.S. states.
Massachusetts now prohibits youngsters under 14 from using ATV machines, the show said.

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