When Brian Dunton’s ATV crashed into a tree Saturday on a trail in Farmington and he was knocked unconscious, his son Brennan knew exactly what to do. The brave 9-year-old called 911 to get help, a family member said.

Brennan Dunton and his father, of Winslow, were riding the four-wheeler on the Whistle Stop Trail when they crashed around noon, leaving the father with broken bones and a concussion.

The boy, who was riding on the back seat, had minor cuts and bruises. He watched his father stand up for a moment, walk in a circle and tumble over the handlebars, dazed and unresponsive. The boy found himself alone in the woods and it was up to him to get help for them both.

Brennan rifled his father’s pockets and found his cellphone. He called his mother, who told him to dial 911 so the call could be traced by emergency dispatchers.

He sat alone with his father until hikers came across the scene. Emergency responders arrived shortly after to take the father and son to a nearby hospital, according to Amy Smith, Brian Dunton’s sister.

Smith, who lives in Belgrade, was the first family member to arrive at Franklin Regional Hospital in Farmington and found her nephew describing the accident to a Maine game warden.


“He was scared. He was definitely in shock, but he was able to tell me and the game warden exactly what happened,” Smith said.

One of the ATV’s wheels got stuck in a dip alongside the trail and the vehicle smashed head-on into the tree. Both father and son were wearing helmets and were on the trail for just five minutes before crashing, she said.

Brian Dunton, 36, is an experienced rider and simply lost control when the four-wheeler hit the dip, Smith, 31, said.

“Of all the people I know, safety is his number one concern, especially when his son is riding with him,” she said.

The father even taught his son to call his mother, Sara, and 911 in case of an emergency, a lesson that paid off on Saturday.

“If Brennan didn’t have the courage to call 911, I don’t know how long they would have been out there, or what condition my brother would have been in,” Smith said.


The father was transferred by ambulance Saturday to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, where he underwent surgery for broken bones in his face and arm. The son spent most of the weekend at his father’s bedside. Doctor said Dunton can return home later this week, Smith said.

“Brennan is just a hero in our eyes, and I’m so proud of him,” she said.

David Robinson — 861-9287

[email protected]

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