WHITE HALL, Md. (WJZ)– Two people are dead and three others injured after an ATV fell into a steep ditch early Sunday morning. It happened in the White Hall area of northern Baltimore County.

Derek Valcourt has more on the victims and how it happened.

On Vernon Road in White Hall, near a small cliff overlooking a tiny stream, flowers now mark the spot where Jeffrey Griffin, 29, of Parkton and Stephen Tracey, 30, of Hampstead died Sunday morning.

“It’s very tragic the way, it’s something that should not have happened,” said Heidi Owings, the victims’ friend.

What happened according to police was four men and one woman piled into a 2002 Polaris Ranger ATV early Sunday morning. The ATV went over the cliff into the ditch, killing Griffin and Tracey. The others were rushed to a hospital.

Friends say the group had been at a party in the heavily farmed area. One of the five called a cab. The others agreed to help him find it.

“Went on down the road on the golf cart thinking the taxi was up there and couldn’t really find the long driveway, so they figured they’ll just go ride down the road. I think the fog and all got pretty thick,” Owings said.

“It apparently was fairly dark so it’s conceivable that you could easily accidentally drive through that field and drive over that cliff into the stream,” said Lt. Rob McCullough of the Baltimore County Police.

The accident site itself is a really steep drop. It’s at least 30 feet deep, and at the bottom, there are huge concrete and metal drainage pipes.

“He was Uncle Jeff to all of his friends’ kids,” Griffin’s friend Cori Eppig said.

Eppig and her husband were business partners with Griffin, whose death they call heartbreaking. They’re joining many others, remembering him as a great man, who died trying help a friend.

“Everyone who knows him understands what I’m feeling right now,” she said. “I can’t put it into words.”

Police say so far no charges have been filed, though the accident is still under investigation.

Four hundred people are killed in ATV crashes in the U.S. every year.

Comments (40)
  1. sheriff says:

    ATV’s are death traps. Broken necks far too common. Adults drunk & playing cowboys along with teens & pre teens whose parets just say yes to everything are the main reasons behind these incidents. Oh, not wearing helmuts also. I went to a 21yr olds funeral a few years ago due to this.

  2. for cryin out loud says:

    Clearly we need parets to wear helmuts…

  3. ATVrider says:

    ATVs are not death traps. Idiots are just looking for a vehicle to kill them and ATVs are fun.
    5 people on a vehicle built for one?
    No helmets?
    Called 911 at 4:30 AM?
    ATVs are fine, idiots, not so much.

    1. willie says:

      ATV rider, Put a drink in front of an alcoholic & he gets drunk. Put an ATV / UTV in fron tof an undisciplined kid & he will kill himself. ATV’s should not be driven by kids. There sole purpose is supposedly fun & they do noting useful. They kill, might as well let the same kids carry guns & watch when they get into an argument.

      1. vwgirl says:

        they were 29 and 30 a$$ hole…last time I checked that far from being a kid.

  4. UTV says:

    IDIOTS ….. Judging by the tracks and the capacity of the story it clearly WAS NOT and ATV – It was a UTV vehical like a RAZOR which is a side by side and caries up to 2 passengers and not designed for anymore than that. Id be willing to bet that they had people piled in the back of ot!! These UTV’s are already top heavy and are known for roll overs and when you put the additional weight on it its bound to happen……… My Prayers and thoughts are with their familys

  5. vlc46 says:

    Report we heard said it was a Gator which has 2 seats and a bed..Kinda like an ATV pick-up.. Still not really meant to carry 5 people. But any vehicle used incorrectly can result in injury or death.. The responsibility should be with the operator of the vehicle..

  6. r says:

    Wow…insensitive humans you are…..Imagine if it were someone in your own family whom you cared about. God bless those who are affected by this horrible accident.

    1. nancy says:

      thank you for not being nasty on your comment it is appreciated by the people who love these fine young men

      1. r says:

        I knew one of these men and was at the concert. It was a gathering of friends enjoing food, music, and the wonderful outdoors we are so blessed with in North County. We all have made bad decisions in our life and should never judge a person or situation….r.

        This is such a horrible ending to such a great night.

    2. nancy says:

      This happened in my neighbor hood where i live and where i grew up and would not change a thing about it i also knew the people involved and am sorry for the loss that we all are suffering.

    3. CORI EPPIG says:

      thank you for your kind words… people only know what they want to make the story about… Jeff Griffin was the best guy in the world he would not let anyone leave alone to go look for a cab that possibly got lost, if i were in his shoes i would have done the same thing and while people were yelling for the driver to slow down he just laughed, yeah too many people were on it i agree but we can’t change the outcome and for those of you who don’t have anything nice to say… well your momma should have taught you better! stuff happens and this is not something we can change… just learn from, so to all YOU IDIOTS, GO OFF YOURSELF!!

      1. Hume R. Noir says:

        If they off themselves should it be done on an ATV or will any method do?

  7. nancy says:

    shame on anyone who feels the need to be an “idiot” for making rude post on this tragic event. These young men have families and many friends who love them and will be lost without these guys around,How dare anyone sit in judgement ? Have you never done anything that when you sit back and reflect that you are greatful that you survived or wonder how you ever survived ? It is easy to sit and talk about someone you don’t know but these men have many many wonderful friends and come from a close knit community so our whole community is feeling the loss. Sorry for anyone who has no clue how that feels but we don’t disrespect our friends so we don’t need you to feel the need to either…remember we all have friends who die in tragic situations and i don’t think you would want to read negative comments from someone who knows nothing about the situation.

    1. Laurel says:

      most normal people are in bed at 4:30 AM on a SUNDAY morning not riding on some vehicle that obviously was not being driven safely. They should of been more safe and adhere to the rules of using such a vehicle which obviously they did not.

      1. r says:

        Laurel……who are you to judge what NORMAL is…..or to judge at all…

      2. stewart says:

        You need a life , and not judge others. it is not uncommon for a weekend to take time to enjoy . maybe you should try it sometime.Unless you have no friends . Then that would explain all.

      3. Kimi Rainey says:

        Hey lil miss perfect, I guess you missed the first day of Kindergarten when you learn if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything. You were not there that night and I was. They were trying to help someone find the cab and the fog got so strong so fast but you would not know that because you were not there. So why don’t you just go to hell for being so disrespectful to the families and friends of the people who were injured and lost there lives.

      4. willie says:

        Laurel, You’re a ballsucker.

  8. ATVrider says:

    I don’t think any of the harsh comments wish death on these people. I certainly don’t. I do however realize that every time I hear of these accidents, the vehicle is blamed (UTV, ATV, etc) of that it’s God’s will.
    My point is that the people involved in the accident caused their own misfortune.
    Of course we feel bad for their families. Why didn’t any of the family members mention they might no want to overload a utility vehicle in the middle of the night?
    Just a question…

  9. nancy says:

    I know that their families would not want anything like this to happen and have given them good advice on things they were doing good or bad. I just think people sit in judgment of people they don’t know and it is no different than people going out to the bar and having 1 too many drinks and killing themselves or an innocent by stander it dosn’t make the news because it happens all of the time.i don’t for 1 minute think you were wishing death on these people i just think many times in life we do things without thinking what the outcome will be, it was a bunch of friends hanging out on a saturday night having fun and this was the sad end result. i do agree they could have used better judgment but that dosn’t give people the right to make such harsh, rude ignorant comments we just need to use this as an example to maybe use better judgement when use something in a way that it is not made to be in. no matter what the error was it is someone that people love and will have to mourn for the rest of their lives and dont need peoples ignorant opinions on the situation.

  10. AT says:

    Hey laurel, get your facts straight before you start making assumptions. They were going to find the cab they called for a friend, you insensitive idiot.. Which means they were not out horseplaying. People just have nothing better to do than to pass judgement on people they don’t know these days. Ugly ugle people in this world.

  11. nancy says:

    laural maybe you are not lucky enough to know how it feels to live in the country where we have farm land and miles between our houses that allows us to have ATV’s to ride. we have farmres who are out at 4:30 in the morning milking cows so you can go to the grocery store to buy when you do decide to get out of bed and have your bowl of cereal and they are NORMAL people. maybe you need to put yourself in the peoples shoes who have lost a son or brother or best friend so you know how it feels before you post your offensive opinions. you one day will lose a child or someone that you love in a tragic way and im sure you dont want to sit and read negative feed back from a stranger that you will never meet and whos opinion really isn’t going to matter so what is the point in giving negative opinions we are a close knit community and stick together most keep up with their friends from grade school so we take something like this serious .

    1. ATVrider says:

      So you think 5 people were riding on a utility vehicle at 4:30 AM milking cows?
      While they are probably farmers, they were also probably partying. Who drives an off-road vehicle looking for a cab at 4:30 AM? Drunks, that’s who.
      I’ve lived in that area for 15 years and I’ve never seen a taxi, let alone one off-road.
      It is certainly a sorry event, but nevertheless it was self-caused.

      1. shannon says:

        Does it make u feel intelligent to state the obvious? Does it make u feel better that two loved people lost their lives to a mistake that you are too perfect to make?

  12. J. Dixon says:

    EVERYONE makes mistakes at some point in their lives. This was a horrific accident. I know one of the men who passed away and he was a free-spirited, kind-hearted, loving brother and son. It’s a terrible tragedy to lose someone at such a young age. It is also terrible to know the pain that their families are going through at this moment. There is no reason for negative comments from people of no concern. This page should be a place where family and friends can support each other and I’m sure they would much rather find some comforting words than such hatefullness. Nothing but prayers for friends and family involved

  13. stewart says:

    Prayers and Lots of Love ,keep the world a happier place, who are these ignorant arrogant ass people , glad none of you are from the country side. Nothing nice to say , why would you feel the need to comment on a story no one even knows the situation . do the world a favor people, don’t speak

  14. F says:

    This reports fails to say they all were too drunk to drive anything.I sorry for the lose of life. Atleast it was just the drunks that got hurt this time n not some innocent family driving home. I have had relatives who have dead by the hands of drunk drives where they walked unscaved! I am sorry two lives where lost but u need to take responsibility for ur actions.

  15. Mindy S says:

    Stephen Tracey was one of the nicest guys i ever met. My prayers go out your family and loved ones and to all involed. God Bless

  16. kasey says:

    God bless everyone involved.
    For the rest of you glad God made you so prefect. We are all human and make mistakes. From the what I read they were taking a friend to look for a cab. Yes to many on the vehicle, but I don’t think that was the cause. It was the fog and running off of the cliff.

    As for the 4:30 am I am up at that time walking my dogs so I can go to work…guess I am not normal!

    I am sure I will get a negative comment for this…go ahead I can take it I know I am human.

  17. HHS Grad says:

    Listen to all of you insensitive, heartless people hiding behind your comments on social media. If they were your friends or family members, would you be calling them “morons” or “idiots”? I think not. I am sure most of you are grown adults. Do you encourage your children to speak like this of others? I think not. The point is, people make mistakes and accidents happen. If you knew these people, like I had the pleasure to, you certainly would not be so quick to judge. The world has too many negative people in it, yet God always seems to take the good ones. It’s just not fair. Nor is it fair for you to leave such hurtful comments on here for the families and friends to read. Shame on you.

  18. F says:

    I see we lost 3 posted from b4!

  19. StudioGirl says:

    I see no mention of toxicology, helmets, high speed or any other negligence except maybe to many people in the vehicle. This is what it does say:

    “Went on down the road on the golf cart thinking the taxi was up there and couldn’t really find the long driveway, so they figured they’ll just go ride down the road. I think the fog and all got pretty thick,” Owings said.

    “It apparently was fairly dark so it’s conceivable that you could easily accidentally drive through that field and drive over that cliff into the stream,” said Lt. Rob McCullough of the Baltimore County Police.

    ummm fog, easily accidentally drive through that field over the cliff. I personally know this 30 fest went on all day, maybe they waited until they were sober enough to leave. I know Jeff and Steve, who were men not kids, were trying to help. Please get the FACTS before making assumptions. Glad you people aren’t jury members!

  20. Footlax8 says:

    Prayers and thoughts go to both young men’s families.
    It would be great if everyone could post positive thoughts here for their friends and families. Anyway you all could erase the rude
    blogs if you wrote one?? Sure would appreciate it. Thank-you.

  21. inhisname says:

    Life is not fair. There will always be miserable people out there who feel the need to speak badly of others in order to make themselves feel more self-righteous. Prayers are going out to the families of these fine young men. And prayers to the people in which evil resides strong enough to make hurtful comments. May you all find peace.

  22. E says:

    Its sad that people come on here making nasty comments about my friend who passed away. Go do something productive while I mourn. No one lives a perfect life. Please do NOT make anymore vicious statements. Its not fair to the friends and families to hear such ugly things from strangers who didn’t know these wonderful guys!

  23. katt56 says:

    can anyone tell me if there has been services planned for Jeff? Where, when? thanks!

  24. jdlg says:

    Thank you all for kind and loving comments. Jeff was a kind fun lovving young man who happened to be working that night for all you ignorant people that wrote nasty comments. For all of those who care please know that your feelings and thoughts are greatly appreciated by the family. Don’t worry about the others. God will take care of them in His time and in His own way. It is just sad that people cannot be kind to one another when people are suffering hurt and pain…..know nothing about what happened and had to comment. Hope you can live with yourselfs.

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