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80-year-old dies in accident involving backhoe

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A tragic accident involving heavy farm equipment took the life of an 80-year-old Jones County man last week.

Delma Eugene Jones was pronounced deceased at the scene of the accident by Deputy Coroner Wayne Grier.

A report of the Sept. 22 accident by Jones County Sheriff’s Office Fatality Investigator Deputy Chris Shurley stated that he was dispatched to an address on Brookwood Way at 6:19 p.m. in reference to a serious accident on the property involving a tractor.

Shurley said when he arrived at the scene, he could see that the driveway was very steep and the victim and the tractor were at the bottom of it. He said he could see that most of the body of the victim was under the tractor, and he was pinned down. Shurley said it appeared the left rear tire of the tractor had run over the victim’s torso.

He said the victim’s daughter had witnessed the accident and was by his side.

The deputy said he gave dispatch an update of the situation to alert everyone responding. He said none of the rescue vehicles would have been able to move the heavy machine due to the moisture on the driveway and its weight. Instead of a standard tractor, it was a 555 Ford backhoe on top of the victim.

He said rescue personnel were able to use air bags, and with the help of everyone on the scene, the equipment was lifted high enough to pull the victim out. Nine members of rescue reported to the scene, and after the airbags were dropped, the victim was freed within seven minutes.

Shurley said Grier declared the cause of death as asphyxiation but stated the victim suffered internal injuries as well.

The deputy said the victim’s daughter later explained how the accident happened. He said Jones was hauling a long camper on a trailer behind his pick up truck and had pulled into the driveway to turn around.

Shurley described the driveway as very steep, at least a 45-degree downgrade. He said the downgrades were on both sides of the drive coming to the bottom at almost a U shape.

When the truck got stuck, the victim went to get his backhoe to pull it out. The daughter told Shurley that, after trying to get the truck out several times, her father had gotten weak and tired from the effort. She said when her father went to get off the tractor, he bumped one of the levers and the tractor moved. That caused him to lose his balance and fall to the ground, trapping him under the backhoe.

The daughter told the deputy she did not have her phone with her and had to run to the house to call 911.