(09/21/2006)
By Drew Moody
drew@wvmountainsun.com

More details of Saturday's ATV accident involving a Gilmer County husband and wife were released Tuesday (Sept. 19). The couple were participating in a charity ride near Stouts Mills. About 254 riders rode the course which took riders from Stouts Mills to Sand Fork, then to near Appcon Lumber and Supply and back.

Stouts Mills is halfway between Glenville and Burnsville on Route 5.

Ronnie and Zelda Golden left Stouts Mills, shortly after 10 a.m., both driving separate 4-Wheelers. Not long afterward their vehicles collided on Sliding Road and both were seriously injured. Neither were wearing helmets, according to reports.

Witnesses told police Zelda Golden appeared to be distracted by something.

She abruptly hit the back of her husband's ATV and the impact caused both vehicles to leave the pavement and hit a bank. Both 4-wheelers came to rest in a ditch-line.

The impact threw her about 14 feet onto Sliding Road where her head hit the pavement, said Sr.Trp. R.P. Smith, lead investigating officer, of the West Virginia State Police.

Mrs. Golden sustained severe head trauma, according to witnesses at the scene. She and her husband were rushed to Stonewall Jackson Hospital and later transferred to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown.

Mrs. Golden is thought to have undergone a five hour surgery not long after arriving in Morgantown. Friends of the family report doctors are keeping her in a heavily sedated state. She apparently does respond to touch.

She has been in critical condition since her arrival at the hospital and it is believed it will be several more days before doctors will know the full extent of her injuries.

As of about 1 a.m. Wednesday morning, her condition remained unchanged, a nursing supervisor reported.

Ronnie Golden was apparently released from the hospital Tuesday and must wear a 'waist to neck' brace for a significant period of time, a source said.

Initial rumors suggested a third ATV was involved in the accident. Evidence and witness statements do not support such a scenario, according to police.

"The mystery person supposedly involved was three or four 4-wheelers back," Sr.Trp. Smith said.

Gilmer County EMS and the Gilmer County Volunteer Fire Department did an exemplary job handling the situation, according to Smith. "I have nothing but praise for the emergency workers up here."

See also wvmountainsun.com


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