A tragic accident, this afternoon, at a farm on Hill Road, in Washington Township, near Edinboro. A man clearing snow in front of his barn, using equipment called a skid steer, was killed when he was pinned between the vehicle and its bucket. Rescuers responded, but the victim had already died. Family members told investigators they saw the man working about an hour before the accident. It was a neighbor who made the discovery.
Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook explained what happened. "The gentleman here was attempting to use a skid steer, which is a small front end loader, and it would appear that there may have been some mechanical problem and at some point the bucket came down, and he was trapped between the bucket and the body of the vehicle." Coroner Cook pronounced the 59-year-old man dead at the accident scene. He did not release his name until all family members can be notified.
Equipment dealers who sell and rent skid steers say it's important for people to read the manuals and follow the safety decals on the machines, because the arms supporting the bucket can come down and it's not uncommon for people to be killed, especially if they step out of the equipment when the bucket is up.
Brian Hartzfeld, branch manager at Bobcat of Erie demonstrated how to use safety devices designed to prevent the bucket from drifting down, if you are out and attending to the machines. He also said it can be dangerous when people get comfortable using a skid steer. "People get accustomed to the machines and think it's not going to happen to them, and that's when accidents can happen."