A man was airlifted Thursday to Wesley Medical Center after his tractor was sent rolling into a ditch on U.S. 56 in Hillsboro, when a semitrailer collided with a farm trailer he was towing.
Marion County Sheriff Robert Craft identified the victim as David Krause, 64, of rural Marion. Krause was driving a Case International tractor eastbound on U.S. 56 near Vogt’s Hometown Market at 11 a.m., towing a long, empty four-wheel flatbed trailer. Krause was driving partially on the shoulder, Craft said.
James Johnson, 31, of Sedalia, Mo., was eastbound on U.S. 56 as well, driving a semitrailer owned by Johnson Livestock and Grain, pulling an empty cattle hauler, when he approached Krause from behind.
“The driver of the semi didn’t realize he was coming up on him,” Craft said.
Johnson tried to evade a collision by steering his truck toward the south ditch, but the left side of the cattle hauler struck the right rear of Krause’s trailer, Craft said.
As the semitruck continued into the ditch, the trailer pivoted and became fully embedded in the cattle hauler, with a corner of the trailer punching all the way through the opposite side of the cattle hauler.
“In the course of the contact, the farm tractor ended up overturned in the south ditch,” Craft said.
Hillsboro Police and Marion County Sheriff’s officers responded to control the scene and re-rerout traffic, while Hillsboro Fire Department and Hillsboro Rescue personnel worked to free Krause. Hillsboro Ambulance and Marion Ambulance were dispatched to the scene as well.
Krause was trapped for more than 30 minutes in the crumpled enclosed cab of the tractor, and rescue workers had to resort to a special saw to cut through to pull him from the wreckage, Hillsboro Fire Chief Ben Steketee said.
A Life Flight helicopter arrived at the scene at 11:45 a.m., and transported Krause to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita. Wesley officials declined to release any information regarding Krause’s condition.
Johnson managed to guide his truck out of the ditch, onto the south shoulder, with the embedded farm trailer projecting out into the eastbound lane. It took multiple attempts with a wrecker to pull the trailer out of the cattle hauler.
“I’ve never worked one like that where something passed completely through the trailer,” Craft said.