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Tractor driver killed at Harvest Fair event

A tractor flipped over killing the 60-year-old driver Sunday afternoon during the Harvest Fair at the Jackson County Expo Center, according to Sheriff's officials and eyewitnesses.

The name of the victim was withheld until notification of next of kin.

I thought we could save his life, but he was pretty badly injured, said Carl Sieg, a member of branch 141 of the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association.

The Medford resident was one of a group of men who helped pull the vintage International Farmall off the victim, while other people pulled him out.

Sieg said he watched with some alarm as the man inched up a steep ramp toward the trailer.

— He backed down a little bit and gave it extra fuel, he said. He was working a pretty steep angle.

Calhoun had seen a similar accident several years ago, and so he was alarmed at the steep angle and that there didn't appear to be anyone spotting for the man while he loaded the tractor.

Because of the large rear wheels and the surge of power, the tractor flipped over backwards, he said.

A whole crew came over and we had the tractor off him, he said.

Sieg said the tragedy comes pretty hard to the local branch because the tractor pull at the Harvest Fair is one of its major events.

This local tractor club is a pretty safety conscious group, he said.

Captain Mike Calhoun of Fire District — said the accident occurred behind the Isola Arena.

He said the victim was still alive when he was transported to the hospital, but he had suffered major trauma.

Calhoun said the man, who appeared to be from out of the area, was trapped under the tractor, and about eight men lifted up one of the tires, while another two men pulled the victim out.

Dick Wilson, southwest adviser for the tractor and gas association, said the safest way to load a tractor is to drive it up backwards on the ramps.

The right way to do it is to back 'em on, he said. But most guys don't.

However, if a tractor needs to be loaded nose first, he suggests using long ramps.

Wilson acknowledge he hasn't always done things the right way when it comes to tractors, but said, Hopefully you learn, but not the hard way.