• Last modified 571 days ago (Nov. 30, 2022)


Teen found dead
hours after ATV crash

Staff writer

A 16-year-old Hillsboro boy who disappeared from friends while driving an all terrain vehicle was found dead three hours later east of the south end of Marion County Lake’s dam.

The parents of Seth Michael Mader had reported their son missing only two minutes earlier, at 11:23 p.m. Saturday. They found him lying face down in a pool of blood, tangled in a pile of rocks in a ravine, according to monitored transmissions.

According to Kansas Highway Patrol, Mader had been westbound on Lakeshore Dr. at 9 p.m. and failed to negotiate a curve.

His red and white Yamaha four-wheeler left the roadway.

He was not wearing a helmet.

Simmons Towing, which towed the vehicle, said the Yamaha was a one-seater with a mid-size engine, not a side-by-side. One-seat ATVs are not equipped with seat belts.

The towing company could not determine the model of the vehicle, which was on its side when found, but said it appeared similar to a YFZ model.

ATVs are permitted to be driven on county roads, Undersheriff Larry Starkey said.

According to the Consumer Federation of America’s Off-Highway Vehicles Safety Coalition, there were 481 fatalities involving off-highway vehicles in the first 10 months of 2022 and 615 in calendar year 2021.

Of them, 24.8% of the 2022 deaths and 25.1% of the 2021 deaths involved victims younger than 20. Only 2.7% of 2022 victims and 2.9% of 2021 victims were known to be wearing a helmet, but helmet usage by nearly two-thirds of victims was not known. Saturdays were the peak days for fatalities in both years.

The coalition considers off-highway vehicles unsafe for on-road use.

When Mader was found, Marion and Hillsboro ambulances and Marion firefighters and rescue squad members were dispatched. An air ambulance also was called but was unable to fly because of weather. All but the Marion units were told to disregard the call, and a coroner was called instead.

Sheriff’s deputies, the sheriff and undersheriff, a Marion police officer, and a state trooper all were dispatched to investigate.

Services for Mader will be 2 p.m. Friday at Marion County Lake hall.

Staff writer Phyllis Zorn contributed to this story

Last modified Nov. 30, 2022