MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We know more about the utility vehicle crash that killed a western Minnesota boy on Thursday, and injured his sister.
Jon Dingwall was 9 years old, and according to the Douglas County sheriff, he was the driver of a utility vehicle that rolled over in a hay field in Millerville Township.
We learned today what parents need to know about operating these kinds of vehicles.
Tony Musatov is a DNR conservation officer who’s familiar with the popularity of off-road vehicles.
“A machine of that size, [a child] of that age, is not appropriate,” he said.
Thursday afternoon, investigators say 9-year-old Jon Dingwall and his 10-year-old sister were visiting a family friend when he began to drive that friend’s UTV, with his sister as a passenger.
It was a Polaris Ranger XP side-by-side. The company’s website shows what that kind of vehicle looks like.
Deputies say it overturned on the slope of a hay field and Jon was pinned under the machine.
His sister was too, but was able to free herself and go get help.
A GoFundMe page has now been set up for the Dingwalls.
“A class 2 ATV is considered to be too large for a person of that age and also helmets need to be worn, anyone under the age of 18,” Musatov said.
Investigators say the Dingwall children were not wearing helmets, and Jon did not have training in operating a UTV.
It’s not clear if there was adult supervision.
Musatov says parents need to know kids are required to have off-road vehicle training before they operate one and there are restrictions on how big those vehicles can be for them.
“They have to be able to handle the controls, reach the controls and safely be able to move the vehicle,” he said, adding, “They’re getting to be more CCs and bigger machines and faster machines.”
Jon’s death is the 11th off-road vehicle death in Minnesota this year.
The laws differ depending on whether you are on public or private property.
More information on off-road vehicle laws: