A farmer in Cattaraugus County was found dead early Thursday morning after getting caught in a piece of equipment. YNN's Mark Goshgarian explains the chain of events that led up to the gruesome discovery.
GREAT VALLEY, N.Y. — A member of the Great Valley Highway Department was checking road conditions around 4:30 a.m. Thursday when he noticed a tractor running with its lights on in a field on Hungry Hollow Road.
"He got a little suspicious of that, that the tractor was still out there, he investigated, walked out there and found the situation that he did," said Capt. Robert Buchhardt, Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office.
What he found was the body of 29-year-old August Lindell of Great Valley.
Deputies say Lindell was spreading manure with his tractor Wednesday night near his farm, and the bitter cold temperatures caused the manure to freeze.
"The manure spreader became clogged, and he used his foot to try and kick the manure," said Bouchhardt.
Deputies say Lindell's leg got caught in the machine and sucked him in. He also suffered head injuries, though the cause of death remains under investigation.
"We believe death was pretty well instant on this, so I don't believe that he suffered," said Buchhardt.
Buchhardt says given the number of farms in Cattaraugus County, and across the Southern Tier, fatal accidents like the one in Great Valley are very uncommon.
"Farming is a hazardous occupation to say the least, and we feel terrible for his family. This is just something very odd and out of the norm that does happen every so often," said Buchhardt.
A family member on scene did not want to appear on camera, but tells YNN they are all devastated by the news.