Rickey Doty Killed in UTV Crash at Rednecks with Paychecks in Montague County, TX
Montague County, TX — September 17, 2022, 61-year-old Rickey Doty died in an off-roading accident at a Rednecks with Paychecks event in Montague County.
Authorities say the incident happened Saturday at the annual Rednecks with Paychecks Off-Road Fall Mudcrawl event on Farm Road 3206 near Saint Jo, around 90 miles north of Fort Worth. Preliminary investigation suggests Doty was driving a side-by-side UTV during the event, which consists of numerous types of off-road terrain for vehicles to traverse, when he he reportedly ran down a steep hill and crashed at the bottom.
Doty, found without a helmet at the scene, suffered a fatal head injury. Another person in the UTV when it crashed left the scene to get help; it's unclear if they were injured.
The investigation continues. No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Rickey Doty Accident in Montague County
Some may wonder after an incident like this whether the property owners and/or the event organizers bear any responsibility for what happened. That'd be decided by premises liability law, which deals with property owners and their duty to protect the safety of the people they allow onto that property ("invitees").
Typically a property owner is required by law to find and fix or remove dangerous items or conditions on the premises, like a grocery store mopping up a spill before someone can slip on it. If they know a hazard exists and do nothing about it, they may be liable for any injuries it inflicts. Some properties are functionally nothing but hazards, however, and several acres of rural land specifically meant for high-octane off-roading may qualify.
In a risky line of business like "adventure sports" where semi-hazardous conditions are part of the appeal, proprietors often deal with potential liability by having participants sign a waiver. The typical language of those says that the company can't be held responsible if someone is hurt--no matter how badly--while doing what they showed up to do.
So could Rednecks with Paychecks, whose website sports an 8-page mandatory liability waiver to be read and signed, be held liable or not? The answer there is the same as it is to so many questions: It depends. Any waiver would make the process more complicated, certainly, but a paper shield doesn't grant immunity if someone's negligence provably cost a life. Moreover, with a handful of reported deaths specifically related to the events of the festivals and gatherings put on there they likely couldn't plead ignorance of the possibility.
Ultimately this needs further careful investigation and analysis. If RwP isn't properly controlling the events they put together and people are dying, that's something that clearly needs addressing as soon as possible.