Sheriff's office: 11-year-old boy airlifted to hospital after go-kart towing crash

The intersection of Nicolai Cutoff Road and Wilbur Road near Rainier.

An 11-year-old boy who was riding in a go-kart while being towed behind a pickup truck was airlifted to the hospital after the go-kart crashed Monday night, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies responded to the incident at 8:50 p.m. on Nicolai Cutoff Road and Wilbur Road.

Investigators said Brandon McKay, 22, from Rainier, was driving the small pickup truck and towing his 11-year-old nephew behind him.

McKay called 911 and reportedly told deputies the go-kart crashed into a tree and went down a small embankment with the boy still inside.

A Life Flight helicopter took the boy to Emanuel hospital in Portland, deputies said. He was still in intensive care Tuesday morning but Tuesday afternoon the boy's grandfather told a KATU reporter he was all right.

He said the go-kart had a roll bar and that it lost a wheel before the crash.

McKay told investigators his nephew asked him to hook up the go-kart to the back of his truck.

According to deputies, McKay tied a long rope to the front frame of the go-kart and to the back of his bumper. He said the boy was wearing a go-kart harness and a helmet and said he would steer the go-kart.

McKay reportedly told deputies he was going 15 to 20 miles per hour while towing the go-kart and looking back periodically while driving. He said shortly after he began towing the go-kart, it started veering off to the right side of the road toward the shoulder and a tree just beyond the roadway.

McKay said he braked and stalled the truck, but it was too late. He said he saw the go-kart hit the tree and go down the embankment, tipping onto its side.

McKay said his nephew was visiting with his grandparents in the Rainier area. His parents live in Portland.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office said there are no signs McKay was intoxicated at the time of the incident. Deputies said the cause of the crash is under investigation.

A spokesman for Oregon's DMV told KATU no one, adult or child, may legally travel in a vehicle that's being towed.

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions says, "More than 11,000 Americans were sent to hospital emergency rooms in 2014 because of go-kart-related injuries, including homemade go-kart incidents as well as those at attractions."

Researchers in a previous study found children who are hospitalized because of go-kart accidents require an average hospital stay of about five days.

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