DARLINGTON—The community is mourning the loss of a 9-year-old Darlington boy who died in an ATV accident.
Colin Barnes was riding his ATV while doing chores on the family farm along Co. D in the town of Lamont on Monday, April 9, when the ATV rolled on top of him, pinning him to the ground.
According to the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department, deputies along with the Darlington Police Department and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources responded to the scene at 8:12 p.m. on April 9. The report stated that the boy received life-threatening injuries from the accident. Colin was driven by private vehicle to Memorial Hospital of Lafayette County. He was transported to a hospital in Madison via Med Flight and died on Tuesday, April 10. He was an organ donor.
DNR officials, who investigate all ATV accidents causing injury, said the case is tragic, but appears to be a freak accident. The investigation found no violations. The boy wasn’t wearing a helmet, but DNR officials said this isn’t a violation of law since he was helping on his family’s farm and not driving recreationally.
The staff at Darlington Elementary-Middle School have provided grief counseling for the students and staff who knew Colin. District administrator Denise Wellnitz said counselors were at the school the day after Colin passed away. She said the staff also helped at the funeral home by providing art therapy for the children attending the visitation.
“It was the third time in 10 years that we lost a student in this building [DEMS],” DEMS principal Michelle Savatski said. “I am amazed each and every time how our staff comes together…They dropped everything and just met the kids’ needs.”
Lori Nodorft, school counselor for grades K-8, said four counselors and the school’s psychologist visited the classrooms and explained that counseling stations were set up for students who wanted to talk.
“The students have been working on making cards and things to give to the family,” Nodorft said. “They’ve been talking and drawing, making pictures and cards. We are trying to make people feel as good as they can.”
Colin was a third grader in Ms. Ann Bilsie’s class.