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Tractor Driven by Dog Kills Millionaire Farmer

The death is called 'a very tragic accident'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 24, 2018 4:30 PM CST
In this photo, a tractor works a parcel of farm land.   (Dave Martinez/The Herald And News via AP)

(Newser) – A multimillionaire farmer met an untimely end when a tractor driven by his pet dog crushed him to death, the Independent reports. Derek Mead, 70, was apparently building a rock garden at his home in England last June when he got out of the vehicle, leaving it in neutral without pulling the handbrake. Mead's dog stayed inside and likely jumped up and hit a lever that makes the tractor move backwards or forwards, per the BBC. "You can move it inadvertently," said Simon Chilcott, a Health and Safety Executive investigator, during an inquest Friday. "Whether the dog has been jumping up to see where his master has gone, or put his paws up on the door to await the return of Derek—it seems most likely that he has collided with the lever."

Mead's son Alistair, who cried throughout the inquest, said he was driving close to his family home that day when he saw his father stuck under the tractor: "We stopped, and I could see Dad's legs at the front of the machine," he said, per CNN. "I could see that he was trapped. He was crouched down, facing the machine as if he had turned to see the machine coming towards him and ducked, trying to avoid it." Chilcott said there weren't any other "reasonable explanations" for Mead's death, and an assistant coroner called it "a very tragic accident." Mead, who lived near Weston-super-mare in the west of England, was a noted landowner and businessman who farmed about 3,000 acres and owned racehorses. (A father's alleged role in his children's deaths "shocks the conscience.")

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