A 55-year-old male farmer was killed after the tractor he was operating left the roadway and ran over him. On the morning of the incident, the victim had been baling hay in a field seven miles from his home. After baling for about two hours, he left the field and proceeded home for lunch. About two miles from his home at 11:25 am, the victim's granddaughter (the witness), following the tractor and baler in a pick up truck, noticed the baler weaving in the road. It appeared the victim was having difficulty keeping the tractor in the right hand lane. The victim was traveling between 17­20 mph when he veered far into the left lane on the two lane asphalt road. The witness reported the tractor then turned sharply to the right and veered off the road. After going down a steep embankment it came to rest about 30 feet from the paved road. The baler tongue broke when the top of the baler hit a tree. The tractor continued to roll 15 feet past the baler. The victim was found by the witness under the right rear tire of the tractor. She ran across the road to a house to summon help. The emergency squad was notified at 11:38 am. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene by the county coroner who estimated the time of death at 11:35 am. Cause of death was traumatic suffocation. The tractor, pulling a large baler, was not equipped with a seat belt or rollover protection. The Kentucky FACE investigator concluded that to prevent future occurrences, tractor owners and operators should:

  • Equip tractors with rollover protection and seat belts
  • Keep equipment in prime working condition

Additionally, specific efforts should be made to eliminate the exception of farm tractors from the seat belt law. 911 emergency calling service should be initiated county wide.

Document Type


Release Date


Incident Number

94KY063; 9406301