Teen on ATV nearly killed in apparent deliberate attempt to injure riders on Long Island

SAG HARBOR, Long Island (WABC) -- Police on Long Island are looking for the person or persons who tied parachute cords across Sag Harbor nature trails in an apparent effort to deter dirt bikes and ATV riders.

A 17-year-old rider was seriously injured and nearly killed when a parachute cord caught him by the neck and threw him from his ATV just after 6 p.m. on August 7.

James Elder was hospitalized but is expected to make a full recovery.

"It's evil, it is evil,I think it's evil," his mother Tina Elder said. "He could have been paralyzed and it could have went any other way, he was very fortunate. After he got thrown off the ATV, his helmet got thrown off of him. He thinks he lost consciousness for a little while. It's crazy."

Authorities say the cords are difficult to see and may cause serious physical injury or even death.

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"It's very strong, it was green in color, and so blends in, it was hard, it was impossible to see," said Southampton Town Police Lt. James Kiernan.

Elder's cellphone landed in the woods after the crash. But he shouted at the phone, 'Siri, call mom!' and that's how his parents were able to locate him and call the paramedics.

Tina admits is illegal to operate motorized, off-road vehicles on the trail, and police say there have been occasional complaints over the years. But such a deliberate act of sabotage will be prosecuted as a felony. I

Authorities are determined to make an arrest before someone else is victimized.

"When the detectives were there, helping this child out to the ambulance, they came across another parachute cord across another two trees," Kiernan said. "So it was, it looked like somebody had booby-trapped that wooded area for the, for the purpose of hurting these riders."

The investigation is active and ongoing.

A $5,000 reward is being offered. Anyone with information on this incident to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

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