Two 11-year-old girls killed in Olive Branch ATV accident

LEWISBURG, MS (WMC-TV) - Two 11-year-old girls were killed Saturday night in DeSoto County when the ATV they were riding flipped over.

The accident happened just before 6 p.m. in the Southern Trails subdivision in Lewisburg.

The two victims, Lauren Dilworth and Emily Bates, both 11, were riding the ATV, a 2005 Yamaha Rhino, when it crashed.

"They got off the roadway (and) pulled back up on the roadway,"  DeSoto County Sheriff Bill Rasco said.  "At that point, the vehicle caught traction with the blacktop and flipped over on the two individuals."

Rasco called ATV riding a big problem in DeSoto County, saying it is illegal to ride them on streets.

"Until the land owners give a complaint, then we can't do anything about it on private land. But we can do something about it on public streets," he said.

Deputies can cite ATV riders, and even confiscate the vehicle. Sheriff Rasco said he hopes other riders will learn that ATV laws are for their safety.

Rasco said he regretted the accidental deaths of two young girls.

"This is the end result of a tragic accident for two young females, who thought they were doing something they enjoyed doing," Rasco said.

DeSoto County Schools Superintendent Milton Kuykendall said Southaven Middle School, where Dilworth was a student, and Lewisburg Middle School, where Bates was enrolled, both held moments of silence Monday.  In addition, grief counselors were sent to both schools help students deal with the loss.

"There is no greater sadness than losing a child," Kuykendall said.

Click here to e-mail Chip Washington.