HOUMA, La. - John Kole Farmer, 14, loved riding scooters and skateboards, according to family friends.
He was killed in an ATV crash Sunday just after 4:30 p.m. in the Barrios subdivision.
“He was well loved by a lot of people,” said neighbor Lauren Clark. “I've seen a lot of kids were upset about it.”
Witnesses say a green, 2011 Polaris ranger and another four-wheeler were speeding down Buena Vista Boulevard, with a radio blaring, when the Polaris’ 13-year-old driver made a sharp left turn onto Sherman Street, flipping the vehicle and ejecting three of the five people inside.
The ATV landed on top of Farmer, who was sitting in the front passenger seat. He was killed on the scene.
Another teen was hospitalized with a concussion. Another had minor injuries.
The 13-year-old driver was Farmer's best friend. He is not injured, but is now charged with multiple crimes, including negligent homicide, negligent injury, reckless operation, driving without a license and operating an unsafe vehicle.
None of the teens inside were wearing seat belts or helmets.
Robin Reynolds, 45, owned the ATV and is the parent of one of the children riding the other four wheeler, said police. Reynolds has been ticketed for contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile and allowing a minor to drive.
“We are going to start charging these parents that are allowing these children out on these roadways,” said Houma Police Chief Todd Duplantis. “We're going to do anything we can to avoid any future tragedies as this.”
Duplantis knows the victim's family. He said it's not the first time someone has been seriously injured or killed driving an off road vehicle on a public street in Houma.
The police department has been cracking down for the last several years, but plans to continue stepping up enforcement.
“We give them warnings. Those days are over with. We need to take action,” said Duplantis. “This is a problem we've been dealing with in Houma, and we take it serious.”
And in this close knit community, police hope the tragedy serves as a wake-up call, while neighbors pray for the families involved.
Two other minors were charged with driving without a license and operating an unsafe vehicle in this incident.
Tuesday morning, Houma Junior High students will hold a memorial for Farmer outside the school.