On September 13, 2002, a 26 year-old male Hispanic migrant worker (decedent) died when the tractor he was driving on a country roadway overturned. The decedent had experience driving the tractor in a field, but did not have experience driving it on a public roadway. On the afternoon of the incident, the decedent drove the tractor, pulling a wagonload of tobacco, from the farm where it had been harvested to the tobacco barn one mile away. The road was hilly and had a sharp curve to the right at the bottom of the hill. As the decedent drove the tractor pulling the wagon down the hill, the wagon jackknifed and broke loose from the tractor. The tractor slid sideways, flipped over, slid around the curve and came to rest with the decedent underneath, but not pinned. The wagonload of tobacco also flipped, skidded and came to rest next to the tractor. The decedent's brother, along with the other migrant workers who had followed the tractor in a van, retrieved the decedent from underneath the tractor and drove him to the area hospital where he was declared dead from blunt force injuries.


  • All tractors should be equipped with Roll Over Protective Structures (ROPS) and seatbelts.
  • Tractors should be operated in a safe manner on hills, including gearing and downshifting for the appropriate task and ground conditions.
  • Farm laborers should be provided training in their own language on tractor operation for all terrains, i.e. flat fields, hillsides, paved and gravel roads.
  • Emergency medical personnel should strive to relay accurate emergency information.

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A summary of this case is available as the additional file listed below.

02KY085_Summary.pdf (19 kB)
Case Summary