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Farmer stuck in combine survives storm's wrath

Staff writer

An International combine sits in a hay meadow on Remington Rd. west of Marion. It looks strangely out of place, forlorn, and lonely. Nearby, linemen with a bunch of utility trucks are placing new poles and restringing electric wires along the road.

That was the scene Tuesday after a severe storm swept through the area Monday evening.

The owner of the combine, Gail Whiteman of Marion, was headed home from harvesting milo about 7 p.m. when he got caught in the storm.

“It started raining, and pretty soon I couldn’t see the road,” he said. “I have never been in a storm like that in my life.”

He pulled east off the road into a hay meadow to wait out the storm. He said the wind blew hard for 20 minutes.

“The combine was shaking, and I was hoping it wouldn’t blow over,” he said. “I did a lot of praying.”

Then he saw “six or seven” highline poles snap off all at once. Terrified, he backed further into the field. Fortunately, the electric lines landed in the road and didn’t fall on the combine.

Whiteman called the sheriff’s office as the storm subsided. He was surrounded by water-covered prairie and wasn’t sure what was safe to do.

“I’m not going to get out until I know it’s safe,” he told the sheriff.

Whiteman’s sons, Jess and Jarvis, arrived, along with the sheriff. They told him it was safe to get out of the combine and walk to the road. Utility trucks were on the scene as Jess and Jarvis took him to his home on 280th Rd. The two-hour ordeal ended at about 9:00 p.m.

“I was glad to be home and glad to be alive,” he said. “Nobody got hurt. It could have been worse.”

Last modified Sept. 10, 2015

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