Elgin marine dies from head injury at Rednecks with Paychecks off-road event

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Lance Corporal James Martinsen died from a head injury he sustained at the Rednecks with Paychecks 2019 event. (Photo: KFDX)

ST. JO, Texas (KXAN) — An Elgin man is dead after he was injured at the Rednecks with Paychecks Fall Mud Crawl in north Texas in September.

James Martinsen was pronounced dead at the Brain and Spine Center in Plano, Texas after falling off a Can-Am ATV on Sept. 20.

His father, Paul Martinsen, said his son suffered a closed head injury. There were six people riding on the ATV at the time, and his son was holding on in the back.

Rednecks with Paychecks Safety Coordinator Glenn Gamblin said the ATV had been modified so other riders could hang onto a pole and the driver was only going five miles-per-hour at the time of the accident. They were pulling into a campsite when Martinsen fell off onto a flat, grassy area.

Gamblin said on-site paramedics and an ambulance arrived immediately and at first it did not appear Martinsen had any serious injury and he was possibly disoriented or intoxicated, but when he remained unresponsive, he was rushed to the hospital.

The Montague County Sheriff’s Office is now investigating the accident and an autopsy was performed.

There are usually 5 ambulances on site with about a dozen medical staff and a helicopter standing by, according to Gamblin. He attributes lower attendance in recent years to stricter safety restrictions put in place after numerous injuries and deaths.

But Martinsen’s accident is the second fatal one this year and at least the fifth ATV death at the off-road event since 2015.

It was the 24-year-old’s third or fourth time attending the event.

A Marine Reserve veteran, about 40 Marines attended Martinsen’s services with full military honors held Tuesday.

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