BROADLANDS, Ill. (WCIA) — A man was airlifted to the hospital after he crashed his ATV into an electric pole.
The man’s injuries are extensive and doctors told the family he has brain damage and needs surgery. AJ Johnston was riding his ATV on South Lincoln Street Sunday night. The crash happened around 7:30.
People who witnessed what happened say this was a freak accident. His sister was sitting right outside near the electric pole and saw it all. She said it happened in the blink of an eye and her brother is badly injured.
ATV’s are pretty popular in Broadlands. You can see them in neighbors’ yards and parked in many of the driveways. But on Sunday night, what started out as ATV fun turned dangerous in a split second.
“He was just giving the kids rides up and down the alley and that last time he pulled out I think he could tell right away that something was wrong with the steering.”
AJ Johnston lost control of his ATV and what happened next shocked everyone who saw it happen.
“He was already putting the breaks on because he could tell something wasn’t right. And then the closer he got to the telephone pole you can see it ventured off because he couldn’t steer it.”
Dawn Knight is Johnston’s sister. She says he flew head first into the telephone pole.
“His head, by his temple up here, hit this nail that’s bent over here.”
Johnston fractured his skull and shattered his cheek bone.
“After he hit this, he slammed over here and hit the back of this head on this wall.”
The impact was so hard it broke more than just his bones.
“He moved the pole.”
That’s about three inches from where it use to be. Even though this was an accident, riding ATV’s on the streets in town is illegal. But the mayor says that law is hardly ever enforced.
“I hope it’s just a freak accident and without a police force it’s hard to enforce it.”
He can’t remember the last time anyone was ever in an accident because of it, but he hopes it never happens again.
“They just need to be careful and only drive them in their yards or out on their farms where they’re suppose to be since they’re not a licensed vehicle here in town.”
The two kids who were on the ATV with Johnston were taken to the hospital, but were released with no major injuries. Johnston will have to have facial reconstructive surgery.
His wife said he wasn’t wearing a helmet when he crashed so she said let this be a reminder for people to wear protective gear at all times, even if you’re just riding an ATV.