A Tonto Village woman died Wednesday evening after losing control of the all-terrain vehicle she was operating on a dirt trail in Star Valley.
Peggy T. Robinson, 50, was riding the ATV about one mile south of Highway 260, on a trail right off Moonlight Drive shortly after 5 p.m. when the accident occurred.
Payson Police Department Commander Don Engler said she was visiting a friend in Star Valley, when they decided to ride some trails in the area.
Engler said it appears that Robinson, an inexperienced ATV rider, got caught on some rocks while riding. When she accelerated to get off the rocks, the front wheels of the vehicle lifted, the vehicle became unbalanced and rolled on top of her.
Engler said the terrain where the accident occurred is fairly rough. The Star Valley location has narrow and rocky trails.
The friend, who was riding another ATV with Robinson, saw the accident and went for help. When he arrived back at the accident site after notifying authorities, Engler said, the friend noticed Robinson was not breathing.
He unsuccessfully tried to revive her through the use of CPR until firefighters showed up.
Accidents on ATVs are a common occurrence in the Rim Country.
Lt. Tim Scott of the Gila County Sheriff's Office, said his department covers a lot of these types of accidents.
He added there are many quad accidents that are never reported, mentioning that if the vehicle and rider are not seriously hurt, the GCSO is usually not notified.
But he has responded to few ATV accidents, where riders were severely injured, a few of which saw riders airlifted to Valley hospitals.
He said living in close vicinity of the forest is one reason why quads are so popular in the Rim Country.
It is inexpensive to fuel them compared to a regular four-wheel drive vehicle, and "they can get farther back in the woods where a regular vehicle can't go," Scott said.
He said the Tonto Rim Search and Rescue team commonly uses ATVs.
The team, he said, has one or two of the vehicles at its disposal, adding that most members of this organization have personal ATVs they use when searching for a person in rocky terrain.
"They are handy and very popular," Scott said.
Art Stockman from Rim Country Power Sports, an Arctic Cat dealer in Star Valley, said most accidents can be avoided if riders follow a few safety precautions -- not the least of which is wearing a helmet.
Members of the Tonto Rim Search and Rescue wear helmets, gloves, long pants and appropriate footwear.
Stockman said a helmet can be purchased for as little as $40. Adding eye protection such as goggles is also a necessity.
And, Stockman said, there are industry standards on how old a person must be to ride an ATV.
A rider must be at 6 years old to use a 50 cubic centimeter quad and 12 years of age to operate a 90cc vehicle.
Industry regulations require a person to be 16 years old to operate a full-size quad.
Stockman said proper training needs to be a priority, and an inexperienced rider needs to be cautious of areas that have rough terrain until their skill level increases.