CORYDON, Iowa –A father and son farming team had a close brush with death on Monday when their John Deere tractor was struck by a delivery truck while on Highway 2, right in front of their farm driveway.
A delivery van was passing the tractor pulling a hayrack going westbound when a car came up in the eastbound lane, and the delivery van had nowhere to go. The van bumped into the tractor tire, before flipping upside down and crashing into the oncoming car.
George Harders was driving the 4020 John Deere and his son, Lucas, was riding on the fender. Neither of the men knew what was happening initially, but the tractor engine began racing as the van pushed the tractor down the road 150 feet and into the ditch. George killed the engine but then had no control over the steering of the tractor. It came to a stop, without flipping over.
“I was shocked, and asked ‘Dad what happened?'” said Lucas. “He said ‘I think we got hit’ and I looked back and there is a van flipped upside down.”
Wayne County Sheriff Keith Davis was on the scene investigating and called in the Iowa State Patrol.
“One vehicle starts to pass the hayrack, this vehicle is coming from the west headed east, a little hill they’re just assuming that this vehicle, is trying to get out of the way.”
The Sheriff said the drivers of the two cars were not seriously injured, but were flown to a Des Moines hospital. George was not injured, but Lucas had bruises on the back of his knee.
“As a farmer, I’ve experienced this myself, pulling something big down the road and taking up more space,” said Sheriff Davis. “You’re in a lane, you get over as far as you can into the ditch and then you come across somebody’s mailbox you have to get around it.”
The tractor does not appear damaged, but on closer inspection, the wheel axle housing was cracked and the rim on the tire was bent. This farm needs both tractors and a skid loader to run. The farm is now harvesting hay.
“We’ve got to get that fixed or hire someone to level silage piles,” said George.
Looking at the heavy damage to the two cars and drivers injured, George and Lucas are counting their blessings for not being killed in the crash.
“That’s the only thing that saved us, if he would have been six, eight feet further it would have hit the front tire and killed us,” said George.