Mechanic run over by John Deere tractor he was fixing, suit claims

Kelly Holleran Dec. 1, 2009, 6:46am

A Worden man and his wife say the man suffered severe injuries after a John Deere tractor rolled over him as he was attempting to fix it.

Gary L. Erwin and Jane Hutton filed a lawsuit Nov. 24 in Madison County Circuit Court against Joe Chartrand doing business as Joe's Auto Repair and Towing.

At the time of the alleged incident, Erwin worked as a mechanic for Chartrand when Chartrand directed Erwin to attempt to repair a John Deere tractor, according to the complaint.

Even though Erwin was not an experienced tractor mechanic, on May 5, Chartrand ordered Erwin to conduct a second test on a solenoid switch on the John Deere tractor when he knew a danger existed that the switch would energize and activate the starting motor, the suit states.

In addition, Chartrand failed to check for an engaged clutch, failed to lock the tractor's brakes and failed to block the tires to prevent any forward movement, the complaint says. If such movement occurred, Chartrand should have been sitting in the driver's seat of the tractor so he could have quickly stopped its motion, Erwin claims.

However, because Chartrand failed to take any precautions, the tractor lurched forward when Erwin performed the second test and drove over Erwin, according to the complaint.

Because of the incident, Erwin lost wages, endured extreme pain and suffering and lost a normal life, the suit states.

His wife, Jane Hutton, has lost her husband's consortium and society, the complaint says.

In the two-count suit, Erwin and Hutton seek a judgment in excess of $50,000, plus costs.

William J. Meacham of Edwardsville will be representing them.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-1283.

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