Truck-tractor crash causes tie up on 150

Published 9:25 am Saturday, October 7, 2023

By Lance Gaither

A Monday morning traffic accident involving a dump truck and a tractor left traffic back up on the east-bound lanes of Highway 150 in Lincoln County backed up for several hours.

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According to Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Ron Luster, the dump truck driver, Robert Howell, first said that he was traveling behind a box truck that swerved suddenly to avoid hitting the tractor and that he didn’t have time to react before the collision. Later he stated that glare from the sun rendered him unable to see the tractor until it was too late. The tractor was towing a wagon with several round bales of hay that acted as a cushion but the tractor was flipped during the accident.

“It was a severe accident. When the dump truck hit the wagon it picked the front end of the wagon up,” Luster said. “The tongue of the trailer went through the back end of the tractor and flipped it over. I don’t know how it didn’t penetrate the driver of the tractor.”

The tractor’s driver, Justin Bunch, received relatively minor cuts and bruises. Luster explained that on the scene Bunch complained of a hit to the head during the accident and was initially refusing treatment. EMTs on the scene convinced Bunch to get checked by a doctor. Howell was not injured.

Luster said he believes that human error was the primary factor and is awaiting dash camera footage from the dump truck to determine the exact cause of the accident.

“When we first got on the scene there was a lot of sunlight coming from the East,” Luster said. “It was very bright. The sunlight could have affected the driver’s decisions.”

Luster urged any farmer who has to drive a tractor on the highway to stick to the shoulder whenever possible and for other drivers to be respectful of other vehicles on the road.

“What I see a lot of more than anything these days is road rage,” Luster said. “People will run right up on somebody and follow too close. If they cut out to the left there is nothing the vehicle behind can do.”