A farmer was killed when his Jack Russell terrier accidentally put a forklift into drive and crushed the man, an in-depth medical examination has found.
British farmer Derek Mead was killed last year in the accident near his home in Hewish, and a medical examiner just completed an inquest into his seemingly strange death. As CNN reported, Mead had left the truck in neutral and didn’t apply the handbrake. The farmer then got out of the truck to open a gate and his dog, who was sitting beside the farmer while he was working, somehow pushed down the shuttle lever and sent the truck rolling toward the man. The report noted that because it was still in neutral, the lever was easy for the small dog to push down.
The farmer’s son was also working on the farm that day and saw his father crushed beneath the vehicle. He rushed to his father but found the man unresponsive.
Peter Harrowing, the assistant coroner who performed the investigation into the farmer’s death, explained the strange circumstances.
“The most likely explanation, which I accept, is that the dog that he had in the cab with him on that day inadvertently moved the shuttle lever, causing the forward motion on the Manitou, which sadly trapped Mr. Mead against the solid gate, causing injuries which he did not survive,” Harrowing said.
The story had gotten quite a bit of attention in England, as Mead was a multi-millionaire whose death was widely reported at the time. It had not been clear until the coroner’s inquest that his pet dog played a role, as at the time it appeared to be a tragic but still unexplained accident.
This was not the only viral story of a dog accidentally harming its owner under strange circumstances. Back in May, an Iowa man was sent to the hospital after his dog accidentally stepped on the man’s gun, pulling the trigger. As the Guardian reported, 51-year-old Richard Remme was hit in the leg by the bullet. He went to the hospital for treatment but was released the next day.
As the report noted, the pit bull-Labrador mix named Balew appeared to be very shaken up about the incident.
“Remme told the Messenger newspaper that Balew is a ‘big wuss’ and lay down beside him and cried because he thought he had done something wrong,” the report noted.
The family of the farmer killed in England did not say whether they kept the dog.
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