SOUTH MANHEIM TOWNSHIP-- ATV tracks can be seen all over a field near Schuylkill Haven. Neighbors say this is a popular area for all-terrain vehicles. Sadly, a father-daughter ATV ride ended in tragedy Saturday night, after 8-year-old Lynsey Ernst was killed.
“Very sad. It seems like a real waste,” Cliff Steffy said.
According to state police, Paul Ernst, 38, was driving the ATV in a field off of Berne Drive, near Schuylkill Haven Saturday. The ATV hit a telephone pole that was lying across a railroad bed. The ATV flipped over. Lynsey was riding on the back of the vehicle, and was killed.
"It's an honest mistake if something happens or a freak accident. There's nobody to blame. It happens. Sometimes it's a tragic accident,” Lisa Webber said.
State police say neither father nor daughter were wearing helmets.
"I'm all for letting adults make a decision on whether or not to wear a helmet, but if there is a minor involved, you sure think there should be a law concerning it. If there was a law, somebody is liable for that,” Steffy said.
Pennsylvania's ATV law says it is illegal to operate an ATV without a helmet. Lisa Webber of Orwigsburg has an ATV and a dirt bike. She makes her children wear helmets when using them, but understands as a parent, sometimes kids don't always wear them.
“There are those times when you're having fun and you just want to take it for a ride, we're only going to be a little bit. Anything can happen,” Webber said.
Paul Ernst is listed in stable condition at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown. State police are investigating the death, and did not say whether charges would be filed.