Local News

ATV park owner defends safety of facility

Posted September 17, 2008 3:45 p.m. EDT
Updated September 17, 2008 6:58 p.m. EDT

— Despite four deaths since 2004 and numerous emergency calls, the owner of an all-terrain vehicle park in Wayne County is defending the facility’s safety.

Busco Beach, located just outside of Goldsboro, has been open since 1992. On weekends, the facility attracts hundreds and sometimes thousands of ATV and dirt-bike riders. A national ATV magazine recently referred to the park as an ATV rider’s paradise.

“I think it's a very safe place. You see families come here with one, two, three and four kids – all of them ride,” owner Jack Bennette said.

Bennette said safety is a priority at the park, which strictly enforces state helmet laws. Off-duty deputies and emergency services workers often patrol the park, he said. The park is also used as a training ground for many local emergency workers,

More than 500,000 people were injured on ATVs between 2003 and 2006, according to government statistics. About 2,600 ATV-related deaths were reported during that time.

During that same period, North Carolina had 100 ATV deaths – the eighth highest total.

At Busco Beach, four people have died in ATV accidents since June 2004. The most recent death was this past weekend.

”It’s devastating to me personally and to this facility,” Bennette said.

A 54-year-old man, who was riding ATVs with his family, flipped his vehicle and died.

“He, to some degree, lost control (and) came up on top of this berm,” Bennette said.

Wayne County Emergency Medical Services Manager Blair Tyndall said paramedics frequent Busco Beach. Since January, EMS has had 46 call-outs with about half of those calls going to the hospital, he said.

“It's a high volume to one address, certainly. (But) for that number of people in one spot, that's what I would consider a below-average call volume,” Tyndall said.

Local emergency officials do not cite any major safety problems at the park.

“There is a lot more here than tragedy, I can assure you,” Bennette said.