Two girls, 7, injured in ATV wreck

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By Jeff Bryan

 Two 7-year-olds were airlifted to Shands Hospital after the all-terrain vehicle they were riding early Wednesday night in Chatmire collided with a sports utility vehicle, throwing both of the victims from the ATV, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report.

Victoria Brown, the driver, was listed in critical condition, the report stated, and her passenger, Layla Cox, was in serious condition when the pair were transported to Shands Hospital in Gainesville. Marion County Fire Rescue crews were dispatched at 6:17 p.m. and arrived at 6:22 p.m., according to MCFR spokesman James Lucas. Rescue personnel called for a trauma alert at 6:29, asking for two helicopters.

A landing zone was created in open field near Wendy's, Lucas said. The first ShandsCair helicopter arrived at 6:45, taking off at 7:05, Lucas added, while the second helicopter arrived at 6:54 and lifted off at 7:07 p.m.

According to the report, a 2002 Buick Rendezvous, driven by Leshaun Gunter, was traveling northbound on Southwest 198th Terrace when the ATV attempted to cross the roadway from east to west and drove into the Buick's path. The front of the Buick struck the ATV, which spun clockwise and overturned onto its right side.

The report stated neither of the girls were wearing helmets. Gunter was not injured in the crash.

Charges are pending, according to the report, as the crash remains under investigation.