After a 55-year-old died in an all terrain vehicle collision north of Capreol on Saturday night, Sudbury police say officers will focus on enforcing ATV bylaws in the city.

The crash happened on Ironside Lake Road, not far from Joe-Ann Vanderligt's camp.

Word of the crash hit close to home in more ways than one: not only was it just up the street, but nine years ago her son Ken suffered a catastrophic brain injury and nearly died in an ATV crash.

"You remember the accident and the day like it happened yesterday," she said. "It's something that you never forget."      

Vanderligt now sits on the board of the Sudbury and District Brain Injury Association.

Her son was 24-years-old at the time of the accident. He was riding his friend's four-wheeler and wearing someone else's helmet when he crashed.

Vanderligt said she doesn't know if speed was a factor, but Ken was in familiar territory at the time.

Lives changed forever

"He was alone though, which isn't a very good practice," she said. "And when they found him, he was unconscious. The helmet was off his head but it was cracked."

Ken was an avid dirt-biker and not unfamiliar with ATV riding. The accident gave him a massive closed-skull brain injury and put him in a coma for six weeks. Doctors thought he'd remain in a vegetative state.

The accident changed Vanderligt's life forever. She said they spending the bulk of their time caring and advocating for Ken and his quality of life. The family is modifying their home and camp for accessibility.

She said her son will likely never marry or have kids, and will never go back to work as a heavy equipment mechanic.

However, Ken has made significant progress, Vanderligt said, and hopes to walk again someday.

Sudbury police will step up their efforts on enforcing ATV bylaws for the month of August.

FAQ's about Greater Sudbury ATV bylaws