Idaho mom cited after allowing child to ride ATV



Posted on April 26, 2010 at 9:10 AM

Updated Monday, Aug 5 at 11:39 AM

NAMPA -- A Nampa mother is accused of child endangerment after neighbors complained her 7-year-old daughter was driving an ATV by herself. Now, the woman has been summoned to court.

Last week, Tamara Babneau's daughter was driving an ATV at a family friend's house.

It's been about two months since the little girl was injured on the same ATV, in the same park.

Taylor Babneau's energy is now hard to contain. It's a sharp contrast to more than a month ago when she was in the hospital, recovering from surgery to her skull.

In late February,  she was on a tube being pulled behind a four wheeler when the tube hit a tree.

"She's a great little kid," said JR Neilson.  "I'm sorry we had that accident. That was a bad thing between us."

Family friend JR Neilson was driving the ATV that day.

And he let Taylor drive it last week, which alarmed neighbors.

"They were concerned for her," said Sgt. Rob Wiggins of the Nampa Police Department. "Officers went out, made contact with the witnesses and were told this particular female had been driving the four wheeler by herself and what they believed what was a reckless manner in the park. Officers consulted the prosecuting attorney's office and given the information, it appears the prosecuting attorney's office requested that they issue citations to the adults involved in the situation."

Both Neilson and Taylor's mother, Tamara Babneau, face a misdemeanor charge of child endangerment.

Tamara Babneau did want to go on camera Sunday, but called the citation unfair.

She said her daughter was under constant supervision, wore a helmet and did not drive the four wheeler alone in the park.

Neilson said Taylor drove the ATV by herself in his backyard, but he was with her as they rode in his subdivision park.

According to officers, a child can drive an ATV alone on private property, although they don't recommend it.

The park, they said, is public property.

"It's not necessarily illegal as long as it's on private property," Wiggins said. "The child is being well-supervised and what not. Typically the child should have an adult especially at her age, on the four wheeler with her so they can directly supervise her. In this particular case the witnesses said she was driving by herself."

Neilson said he was on the ATV with Taylor in the park and he argued it is private property because his annual homeowner's association fees cover it.

He said the neighborbood association has considered banning ATVs there, but a majority vote never took place.

Until that happens, he said he is not doing anything wrong.

"If they get the 2/3 of the votes in, then it's law," Neilson said. "Then they should put up a sign no ATVs in the park.".

Both Neilson and the girl's mother have to be in court within the next couple weeks and plan to fight the tickets.

Neilson was not charged in the February accident.