On Thursday, January 9th, a man died in the morning hours after an industrial accident in which he was run over by the same tractor he had been operating.
According to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, EMS and Fire Department rescue units were dispatched at 9:15 a.m. to the Auto Barn Wholesale Building on Packinghouse Road, near Cattlemen Road and Palmer Boulevard. When the accident was first reported, authorities were not sure what caused the tractor’s operator to end up beneath the piece of equipment.
The victim was eventually identified as Garry Miller, age 49 of Port Charlotte. Miller was apparently operating the piece of heavy machinery on private property. He attempted to climb down from the tractor, but mistakenly left it in gear, according to the sheriff’s office. As he jumped down from the driver’s seat to the ground, the tractor somehow lurched forward and ran Miller over with its open rear wheels.
A passerby saw the tractor stuck up against a fence stopped to have a closer look. He then saw the victim lying on the ground just behind the tractor and called 911. Miller’s family was notified shortly after medics pronounced him dead at the scene. The incident has been classified as an accidental death. This is the second regional death involving an accident with a small industrial tractor this year. A Leesburg man was crushed to death by the front bucket of his own small tractor on January 4th.