‘I can’t imagine:’ 7-year-old dead, adult hurt in ATV crash at Hog Waller Campground and ATV Resort

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. — The Florida Highway Patrol says a seven-year-old boy died, and a 32-year-old man was hurt in an ATV crash.

It happened on Sunday at the Hog Waller Campground and ATV Resort. Investigators said the young child was sitting behind the 32-year-old adult when the ATV they were riding on flipped.


FHP said they made a sharp turn, rolled the ATV and the boy hit a tree stump, with the ATV landing on him after.

Troopers say the two were not wearing helmets.

The death sparks concern for Putnam County residents like Karen Wood.

“I can’t imagine what it’s like losing a little child,” she said. “The fact it happens as much as it does makes me leery. Any place can have it happen but when one has it more, and Hog Waller keeps coming up, there’s a reason.”

This marks the third death Action News Jax has reported on at the property since 2019. April 2023, a 30-year-old was killed in a crash. In 2019, a 31-year-old father of three died after being thrown from his ATV.

Action News Jax also obtained records from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, showing first responders have gone to the park over 70 times for crashes from the start of 2021 to mid-February this year.

“The fact these things happen so much, something surely can be done to make it safer,” Wood said.

It should be noted, Hog Waller has two entrance waivers that must be signed by adults and minors. Both are about acknowledging the risks, saying you give up rights to claims and a lawsuit for any personal injury, including death.

Action News Jax spoke with a woman on Facebook, who said she was there this past weekend and left before the crash but said the child should have been wearing a helmet, saying the park is “awesome and very family friendly. Very sad this happened.”

For concerned neighbors like Wood.

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“There are things could be avoided but some could be avoided by better safety protocols,” she said.

Under Florida law, helmets are required for all drivers and passengers under 16. FHP told Action News Jax charges in the case will be determined at the end of the investigation.

Action News Jax tried calling the ATV park and left a voicemail. Action News Jax also tried emailing the park and messaging them on Facebook for a comment, but we haven’t heard back.

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