Boy who died after ATV accident remembered by hundreds

ELMA, N.Y., (WIVB) — An estimated 900 people gathered Wednesday for the funeral of 12-year-old Zachary Matla, who died Saturday after an ATV accident last week.

Family and friends shared favorite stories and memories, and offered their thanks to the community for the support its shown over the past week.

Zach was in the sixth grade at Iroquois Intermediate School. He and four friends were riding their ATVs at about 5:30 p.m. April 26, trying to scale a hill in Elma.

Zach was wearing a helmet, but died after severely injuring his head when the ATV overturned and he was pinned.

News 4 was there on Friday when hundreds of people gathered for a vigil to remember Zach.

Those memorials continued Wednesday at Crossroads Christian Church, which live streamed the funeral on its website.

“We live in a great community,” said Bob Barry, a coach and family friend. “You have a lot of friends and family that love you. He touched so many people.”

Shortly after the funeral got underway, Zach’s mother and father addressed their son’s friends who were with him last week. Michelle Matla told them their quick actions allowed them to spend as much time with Zach as possibly.

“Boys, we can’t thank you enough from the bottom of our hearts for what you did,” she said. “Because you gave us three days with him we wouldn’t have had. So everybody here thanks you as well. And he loved you.”

“He was an active, full of joy kind of boy,” said family friend and neighbor Joy Caparaso. “He had compassion, he was funny, he was outgoing, he was energetic and he was selfless. He was a loud boy with a his raspy voice, a very deep and powerful voice that could be heard in the valley of Hidden Valley.”

A GoFundMe campaign set up to help the Matla family has raised nearly 30-thousand dollars.

Zach’s death came just seven weeks after his mother underwent surgery for what turned out to be a benign brain tumor. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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