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John Maxwell

CUTLER — Indiana Conservation Officers are investigating an off-road vehicle accident early Saturday morning that resulted in the death of a passenger.

At about 1:20 a.m. Nov. 30, Carroll County emergency dispatch received a 911 call of an ORV accident involving injury in the 5000 block of South 100 West. Conservation Officers and other first responders located the passenger of the machine on the ground and unresponsive.

The operator of the side-by-side ORV, Quentin Smith, 25, of Lafayette, told officers he was traveling northbound on County Road 100 West when he attempted to turn into a driveway, missed the driveway, and crossed over a drainage ditch. The operator then lost control and the machine began to roll, ejecting the passenger, identified as Derek Hufford, 25, of Lafayette.

Neither occupant was wearing a helmet or seat belt at the time of the accident. Smith was transported to Indiana University Health Arnett Hospital in Lafayette for evaluation. Hufford was pronounced dead at the scene by the Carroll County coroner.

In addition to excessive speed, alcohol is believed to have been a contributing factor in the accident. Smith was arrested on preliminary charges of operating while intoxicated, operating while intoxicated causing death, operating an ORV at unreasonable speed, and operating an ORV under the influence of alcohol.

All defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law. Initial charges will be reviewed by the Carroll County prosecutor.

Assisting agencies include Carroll County Sheriff Department, Flora Police Department, Cutler Fire Department, Carroll County EMS, Carroll County Emergency Dispatch and the Carroll County coroner.