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Two teens killed in ATV accident near Hopeulikit
Police: ATV ran stop sign
Anna Harris, 16, white shirt, and Sarah Andersen, 15, place a flower on the side of Williams Road Thursday to remember their friends Tracy Deal, Jr., 13, and Devin Miller, 15, who were killed in an All-Terrain Vehicle accident Wednesday. - photo by HOLLI DEAL BRAGG/staff
    Two Hopeulikit teens were killed Wednesday evening after they ran a stop sign a short distance away from their homes.
    Tracy Randall Deal Jr., 13, was taking a friend, Devin S. Miller, 15, home just before 8 p.m. Wednesday when the teens, riding a four-wheeler, ran a stop sign on Colfax Road West at the intersection with Williams Road, said Anna Kathryn Harris, 16.
    She and another girl, Sarah Andersen, 15, were also riding a four-wheeler and were on their way to meet Deal after he took Miller home, she said. The girls did not see the accident occur, but were at the scene a short time after it happened, she said.
    Georgia State Patrol Trooper First-Class C. A. Hutchinson said the boys pulled into the path of a 2003 Ford F350 work truck driven by Brian Morgan Evans, 26, Akins Smith Road.
    The truck struck the four-wheeler, ejecting the teens, who were not wearing helmets, he said. They both were killed on impact.
    No charges were filed in the accident, Hutchinson said.
    Harris said she and Andersen had " been riding all day with them.
    "Devin Miller was like my brother," she said.
    "They've been best friends since second grade," Andersen said.
    The girls returned to the scene Thursday morning, where orange paint marked where each boy had been found in the roadway, and a small memorial of two flowers were staked where Deal's body came to rest. Neither girl could explain a woman's black sandal that was placed next to the memorial.
    Both girls were somber, and obviously still in shock over the tragic deaths of their friends and neighbors.
    When asked how they felt about riding four wheelers again, Harris shook her head.
    "I told my Dad last night he could sell (her four-wheeler)."
    Hutchinson said while there are laws governing issues regarding riding four-wheelers or other ATVs, there are no current laws banning riding them on public roadways or highways.
    Citations can be issued to riders who are operating the ATV for DUI, reckless driving, no registration ( unless the ATV is used for agricultural purposes);  no insurance, implied consent, and exhaust violation, according to information from the Georgia Department of Public Safety, Hutchinson said.
    The following citations can be issued if a driver is operating an ATV on a highway:  no horn, tire violation, headlights, brake lights and taillights violations , no driver's license , and brakes violations, he said.
    There is no law requiring ATV riders to wear helmets, he said.
     According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were 555 reported ATV-related deaths in 2006, the latest year for which statistics are available. That year also saw an estimated 146,600 emergency room-treated injuries from ATV accidents.
   Since 1982, the CPSC has reported an estimated 240 ATV-related deaths in Georgia. From 1982 to 2002, the latest year for which statistics are available, 68 children under 16 died in ATV accidents in the state.
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