Farmers and Ranchers speak out after tractor and pickup wreck

Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 10:22 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - A local Farmer was on HWY-81 in his John Deere when a pickup truck reportedly hit his tractor from behind.

The farmer was reportedly thrown from the tractor and taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Elisabeth Kirchner owner of “Wild Urban Farm” said she’s had plenty of close calls herself.

“There was a rock truck coming and he was daydreaming he says. And I saw him, and that he was not going to stop and so I pulled off into the median there. And, he went through the intersection and down to a house on a gravel road before he could slow that rig,” she said.

Kirchner said the farmers and ranchers community is pretty tight-knit, so word spread fast about the wreck on HWY-81.

“Oh, it’s devastating because I know just what he was probably thinking at that moment. Like Oh my God, I’m in big trouble here or it might have happened so fast he couldn’t think about what to do.”

She said most local farmers have multiple fields requiring daily tasks, which means sometimes tractors have to take to the road.

“Our tractors can go a maximum of 20 miles per hour so, of course, that’s going to slow and cause frustration with the driver going 65 behind us,” she said.

“Because they don’t have multiple equipment, you take that equipment to another field and you work that field or plant that field. "

Kirchner said you only have to be 13 to drive a tractor, and with most of the farmers and ranchers in the area being part of multi-generational businesses, drivers need to watch out for kids.

“Young children at 13, they can drive a tractor but they can’t drive a car and they don’t think as fast as adults do,” she said.

According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, there are 15,00 deaths yearly from tractors and vehicle collisions.

“If there is a few cars behind us, we’re watching, believe me, we’re noticing you’re there. And, we are trying to pull over, but sometimes we can’t pull over because it’s a bridge and you know instability that can tip our tractor over. So, we have to wait for a little bit,” she said.