I have started to write this letter more than once and decided against it. Thinking I won’t do any good, but after today I think people need to be aware of living in an agricultural community like Ottawa and Franklin County. I was bringing a couple of big round bales of hay down K-68 highway to feed my cows, as I do many times during the winter months. On more than one occasion as I start to turn left into my drive, with a slow moving vehicle sign, yellow hazard lights flashing and a left turn signal on, I look to my left and there is a vehicle passing me on the left side. On occasion they are passing me on the right in the gravel on the side of the highway at a high rate of speed.

Well, Wednesday morning was a little different. I am driving down K-68 highway at top speed of my tractor of just under 25 mph. So many tractors have a top speed of less, around 18 mph. I am a 1/2 mile away from where I am going to turn in to my drive. Just minding my own business driving down the road with a slow moving vehicle sign on the back of my tractor and my yellow hazard lights flashing when a pickup struck me in the rear end.

In a matter of seconds I am sitting in my tractor bleeding profusely in the north ditch 1/2 a mile east of my drive where I was heading. I crawled out of my tractor and tried to figure out what had just happened. There sits my $100,000 tractor in the ditch, the left tire knocked clear off the rim, the fenders laying on the ground, the cab glass all over the place and after further examination I notice the tractor is broke in half with transmission gears and bearing scattered all over the ground.

I had no idea what had just happened until I looked across the road and saw a pickup sitting in the other ditch with the front end mashed up against his cab. Luckily he was in better condition than I was. Several people stopped at the scene and offered assistance to me to try to stop the bleeding and I am thankful for them. Several stitches later from great doctors and nurses and an EKG and cat scan at Ransom Memorial Hospital, I was released several hours later. The driver of this particular pickup said he must have fallen asleep and did not see me but he was looking for his cell phone after the wreck. Making no judgments here.

Drivers of pickups, cars, and semi trucks need to realize farm equipment does not travel at highway speeds. Some machines and implements are not only slower than a car but several times as wide.

I know so many are eager to get home after a hard day’s work but we farmers and ranchers would like to get home safe too.

David Kile