An accident affects an entire family

Life can change pretty quickly after a farm accident, not only for the farmer involved but his family as well.

That is what those attending a meeting at the Wyoming fairgrounds on recently were reminded, as they heard from Lambton Federation of Agriculture Board member Fraser Beatty and Crispen Colvin, a director with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, representing Lambton and Middlesex counties who were either personally involved in a farm equipment accident on the road or had a family member involved.

“No matter how careful you are, there will always be human error,” said Beatty.

His combine was involved in a hit and run on the corner of London Line and Brigden Road on Dec. 12, 2018. He was done his harvest and it was his intention to help his neighbour. Beatty chose wait to take his combine out onto the road until after 9 am, as there would be less traffic at that time of the morning.

Beatty attempted to make a left turn on to Brigden Road, when he was struck by a jeep. The impact bounced Beatty off the window. He did everything right, by slowing down, having all the lights going and checking his mirrors before making the turn.

The impact took his right rear tire off.

The driver of the other vehicle immediately took off. “I never did find out who hit me,” said Beatty. Police contacted local body shops to see if a vehicle matching the description for work, but none did.

“It was not a fun day,” said Beatty. The first police officer on the scene asked who had been killed, upon getting a first glimpse of the scene. Beatty was also asked to sign a film release as the crew from Heavy Rescue 401 came upon the accident soon after it happened. The crew filmed the recovery of the combine, but Beatty said it never made it to air.

Colvin’s experience involved his son-in-law whose tractor was hit by a car on Highway 7 near Lucan. He got a call from his wife that day telling him of the accident. His son-in-law was thrown from his tractor and he hit the pavement after he attempted to turn left off of the highway. A car had tried to pass him but instead hit the tractor.

There were no circumstances that would have contributed to the accident that day, said Colvin. It was a clear day and the road was good.

Colvin went to the hospital in London where his son-in-law was taken. His daughter was distraught and had to taken to London by a neighbour who also talked to medical staff for his daughter.

A brain scan revealed there was bruising and there was also pressure on his eye from the blood vessels. His son-in-law stayed in hospital for six days and his daughter refused to leave him.

So Colvin and his wife stayed with their grandchildren at this time, with the oldest being nine years old. “Everyone stops what they are doing,” said Colvin when an accident occurs. He and his wife needed to tell the children why they father isn’t coming home and the neighbours are impacted, as they helped with chores immediately after along with other family members.

The accident has had far reaching impact. His son-in-law has not been able to work since the accident. He had therapy on his back for a year after the accident and he has sensitivity to light and noise and he still doesn’t have a sense of smell. He also has difficulty concentrating.

Colvin’s daughter and son-in-law have since moved to Edmonton, in search of a fresh start. “It is a big thing when it didn’t have to happen,” said Colvin.

The driver of the other vehicle walked away from the accident and was charged with careless driving.

The meeting was hosted by the Lambton Farm Safety Association and the Lambton Federation of Agriculture.

Blake Ellis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent