Polk County Sheriff's deputies are investigating an ATV crash on Saturday that took the life of a five-year-old boy.

  • Incident occurred in area near 3700 block of West Socrum Loop Road
  • Father and son were riding ATV, son sitting in front
  • Both passengers ejected when ATV rolled

Deputies said Joshua Heard, 32, and his son, Eli, 5, were riding in an area near the 3700 block of West Socrum Loop Road. Eli was sitting in front of his father on the ATV, wearing a soft helmet.

Heard told deputies he was running the ATV on a dirt road when he made a U-Turn, accelerated and went over a grass mound. At that time, the passenger side front tire support arm broke, causing the ATV to roll several times.

Both riders were thrown from the ATV. Both were transported to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center, where Eli was pronounced dead. Heard suffered possible broken ribs.

Deputies specified that the helmet Eli was wearing was not designed for use with motorized vehicles. The investigation is ongoing.