Department of Natural Resources
July 7, 2021
A 23-year-old man from Berkley is expected to recover after sustaining life-threatening injuries Sunday when he lost control of his off-road vehicle on state-managed land in Montmorency County.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officers Sidney Collins and Dan Liestenfeltz responded to a 911 call at 2 p.m. regarding a personal injury ORV accident at an unknown location in Vienna Township.
Lacking an approximate location due to the caller not having cellphone service, the officers drove to an area that matched the caller's description, near a large field located east of Roby Road, at a dead end. While Collins and Liestenfeltz drove the road in their patrol trucks, an ORV approached the officers on the roadway to signal for help.
"It's really bad," a young woman on the ORV said.
In their patrol trucks, Collins and Liestenfeltz followed the woman on her ORV to where the Berkley man lost control and crashed his four-wheeler, sustaining serious injuries to his right leg and foot and other injuries.
One of the witnesses, a 14-year-old girl, ran back to her house to retrieve water and a belt, which she applied to the man's leg to control his bleeding.
Collins and Liestenfeltz applied a department-issued tourniquet to the victim's leg, which stopped the bleeding. Once the tourniquet was secure, the officers relayed their GPS location to Montmorency County Dispatch for a helicopter - which was 45 minutes out.
In the meantime, the officers guided ground EMS to their location, where emergency responders made a joint decision to transport the man to Otsego Memorial Hospital in Gaylord so he could receive immediate medical treatment prior to surgery. The man was airlifted to Munson Flint where he underwent surgery on his foot and collarbone.
Monday morning, the man's mother told Collins and Liestenfeltz that her son was "in good spirits and feels lucky to be alive." He is at Royal Oak Beaumont receiving medical treatment and is expected to recover.
"Thank you to the two witnesses involved in this event, particularly to the young female who applied a belt as a tourniquet, which saved valuable time before conservation officers arrived to take over medical care," said Chief Gary Hagler, DNR Law Enforcement Division. "I'm glad to hear that the man is in good spirits. This week, our officers will continue to patrol the increased ORV activity they're observing throughout the state and encourage all riders to 'Ride Right,' using care and caution regardless of where they're riding."
Out of privacy for those involved, the DNR is not releasing names.
Vienna Township Fire Department, Tri-Township EMS and Montmorency County Sheriff's Department assisted Collins and Liestenfeltz.
Speed and careless and reckless riding were the primary causes of reported ORV accidents during 2020. Learn more about ORV safety at Michigan.gov/RideRight.Michigan conservation officers are fully commissioned law enforcement officers responsible for the state's ORV recreational education and enforcement programs, providing natural resources protection, ensuring recreational safety and protecting residents through general law enforcement and conducting lifesaving operations in the communities they serve. Learn more at Michigan.gov/ConservationOfficers.