The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

September 13, 2013

Man dies in garden tractor mishap

By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer

SHENANGO TOWNSHIP — A Shenango Township man suffocated when a garden tractor rolled on top of him and pinned him Thursday morning, officials said.

Joseph John Miller Sr., 68, of 371 Heasley Road, was unresponsive when he was found after 10:40 a.m. in a wooded area across the street from where he lives, said Cris H. Loutzenhiser, a deputy Mercer County coroner.

Miller left home at about 10 a.m. and went to the woods to cut firewood, Loutzenhiser said.

He had cut a tree and was attempting to pull the log with a chain attached to the tractor when the accident occurred, Loutzenhiser said. Miller was off the tractor, which was in reverse.

The tractor rolled back toward Miller and his leg got caught in a wheel, causing him to fall to the ground, Loutzenhiser said. The tractor rolled on him and pinned him, he said.

Officials are not sure how or why the tractor was in reverse.

“There’s really not an answer for it right now,” said township volunteer Fire Chief Bill Williams. “We’ve tried to figure that out all day.”

Neighbors heard noises that officials believe was Miller calling for help, but he did not respond when he was found, Loutzenhiser said. Southwest Mercer County Regional police were the first emergency responders to arrive, but could not revive him.

Loutzenhiser pronounced him dead at the scene.

An autopsy will not be performed and the death was ruled accidental.