GSP warns drivers about tractors following crash
WARWICK, GA (WALB) - Law enforcement and first responders went to the scene of a collision involving a tractor and a semi truck, just South of Warwick Monday morning.
It happened near the intersection of GA 300 and Bundrick Moore Road, just before 6 a.m.
State troopers said Daniel Harrell from Baconton was driving a 1964 International Harvester tractor, with no lights, southbound on Highway 300 in the right lane.
Darrin Spearmon was driving a 2006 Kenworth semi truck in the same direction.
The semi hit the unlit tractor, throwing Harrell 125 feet and the tractor rolled over a few times, stopping in the road.
Spearmon lost control of the semi, which traveled onto the shoulder, through a ditch, rolling onto its left side, hitting a power pole and stopping in the woods.
While the wrecked tractor was in the road, a white Chevrolet 2009 pickup, driven by Lewis Hogan, hit it, destroying it.
Harrell and Spearmon were taken to Phoebe Putney.
Harrell was in critical condition as of Monday evening.
Spearmon was treated and released on Monday.
Hogan had minor injuries and was treated on scene.
GSP said charges are pending. They said it's not often when the tractor is at fault in these crashes.
They want to warn drivers more tractors will be on the road in the coming months.
"They'll be on the roads more often now because it's planting season," said Georgia State Patrol Sgt. Dana Harnage. "Then it usually tampers off more in the summer, and then in the fall when it's harvest season you'll see tractors and combines."
Monday morning's scene on Highway 300 is one A.W. Gill said he knows well.
Gill spent months in a hospital after he was hit from behind riding his tractor on the same road five years ago.
"I don't get on that road with a tractor no more," said Gill.
Since his accident, Gill had to stop farming like he used to in general. He said he used to grow and sell a variety of crops, but now he can only handle one small area where he grows crops for his family.
"It just discouraged me from getting on that fast road," explained Gill. "It just hit me from behind and next thing I know I was lying on the side of the road."
Troopers said tractors can be on the roads with appropriate lights and signs.
"The tractor has to have headlights, tail lights, turn signs. They also have to have a slow-moving vehicle triangle," said Harnage.
In the last year, Harnage said GSP has worked several crashes involving tractors. One of them was fatal.
"If people aren't careful on the roadway with these slow-moving vehicles it can be a serious issue," explained Harnage.
While the tractor driver was at fault on Monday, troopers said that's typically not the case.
Harnage said drivers must slow down and switch lanes if necessary when they see a tractor and road signs.
There are a couple of signs on Highway 300 warning drivers, but Gill said he believes there should be more.
Gill said often times drivers who use the road don't always realize how many tractors are in the area. He said it's easy for them to be distracted, speed and not realize the tractor is there until it is too late.
"These farmers don't go very fast, you know about 20-25 miles an hour and a car can be on them in nothing going at 60 to 65 miles an hour," said Gill.
Copyright 2018 WALB. All rights reserved.