William Andrew Silvestre, 37, died in an San Bernardino ATV accident on May 17, 2009 while riding a Yamaha 350 quad in a dry lake bed in El Mirage. According to a news report in the San Bernardino Sun, the ATV crash occurred when Silvestre, riding the Yamaha quad, hit a berm, rolled over and was ejected. Silvestre was pronounced dead at the scene. Shortly before Silvestre’s death another man, John Peter Sliskovich, 25, was riding a dirt bike in the lake bed, hit a berm and was thrown off his bike. California Highway Patrol officials are investigating both personal injury accidents and it is not known if the men were riding together.
My heart goes out to the families of both Silvestre and Sliskovich for their tragic and sudden loss. I offer my deepest condolences to everyone who knew and loved these men. Please keep them in your prayers.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s ATV accident statistics, 750 deaths and 146,000 injuries were reported in 2006 involving ATV crashes in the United States. That was a steep increase from 517 deaths and 110,000 injuries in 2001. The dramatic increase in ATV accidents over the last five years or so may be attributed to the increasing popularity of all-terrain and off-road vehicles. ATVs are particularly popular in California where we are blessed with good weather year-round.
We are also starting to find out more information about ATV product defects, especially design defects. Many ATV models are prone to rolling over and offer very little in terms of protection to its occupants in the event of an ATV rollover crash. A number of drivers and passengers die even in spite of wearing helmets and protective gear. As in this case, the risk of a tipping over or rollover accidents increases with rough terrain.
William Andrew Silvestere’s family would be well advised to consult a California ATV accident attorney, who has an excellent track record with product defect cases. It is important to determine whether this ATV accident was caused by a defective product or defective design. Yamaha has recalled a number of its quad ATVs over the last four to five years including many of the 350 model quads for various product defects including loss of steering control. The best California product defect law firms will have the Yamaha ATV examined by experts for products defects and other evidence. Silvestere’s family should keep the crashed ATV unaltered so it can be thoroughly checked for any defects.