Fence at site of fatal ATV accident not required to be marked, says NDOT

An unmarked four-wire fence through which a Carson City man accidentally rode his all-terrain vehicle and died was not required to be flagged or have signage warning of its presence, a spokesman for the Nevada Department of Transportation said Thursday.

The body of Lester Mitchell Paul Jr., 40, was discovered atop his vehicle in a ravine off Arrowhead Drive on Tuesday morning by a freeway construction worker.

Investigators said Paul was apparently heading home after 9 p.m. Monday night, when he decided to take a shortcut through the drainage ditch which runs alongside the Arrowhead Drive off-ramp of the Carson City Freeway.

Paul was riding without a helmet, without headlights and at speeds in excess of 40 mph when he accidentally rode through the unmarked fencing. The top wire was situated about neck level, nearly decapitating him. He died instantly.

The fence was installed in April.

"If you look at all of our freeways and interchanges, we put fences up and they don't say 'no trespassing,'" said NDOT spokesman Scott Magruder.

By Thursday afternoon the broken wires were reattached to the posts, and a cross made from discarded wood and left-over crime scene tape had been placed 50 feet from the fence at the spot where Paul's body was discovered.

Magruder said in some instances flagging is used to warn people of fencing, but only "where appropriate and on a case-by-case basis."

He said Paul was riding illegally in a drainage ditch, meant for water and not vehicles.

• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.


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