LONOKE COUNTY, Ark. - A North Little Rock man died in a farming accident in Lonoke County.
The Lonoke County Sheriff's Office says A.J. Butler, 66, was killed Wednesday afternoon when he was run over by the tractor he had been driving. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators say the accident happened in a rice field at TLH Farm in England off Highline Road Wednesday around 1:30 p.m.
Tyler Henderson, whose family owns the farm, says he grew up watching Butler work in the fields.
"A.J. was the best tractor driver I'd ever seen and I've seen a lot of them," Henderson said.
Henderson says Butler was alone in the tractor, when he may have hit an irrigation ditch. He says other workers in the field didn't realize something was wrong until the tractor stalled out.
"Just horrible, it was the most gruesome thing I'd ever seen," Henderson said. "No one saw exactly what happened to A.J. The door was not broken or anything so I don't know if it wasn't shut all the way, if it popped open, or if he had something medically wrong with him. But he had fell out of the tractor and got run over by it."
The tractor Butler was driving had a seat belt, but it's unclear if he was wearing one.
Henderon says Butler worked at the farm for more than 20 years and was the epitome of a hard worker, known for being the first one on and last one off the fields every day.
"He wasn't breaking any rules. He wasn't doing anything wrong. He was just doing what he did every day of his life during harvest," Henderson said. "A farmer is always trying to beat the rain or the heat, and that man he loved to work that's all he done his whole life."
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating.
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