Tunis teen dies in farm accident

Published 2:35 pm Thursday, September 3, 2009

HARRELLSVILLE – What started out as another hard-working day in a Hertford County tobacco field turned tragic before lunchtime on Thursday.

Keith Irvin Cotton, 18, of Tunis lost his life in a farming accident near Harrellsville, according to Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan.

Sheriff Vaughan said Cotton was operating a motorized tobacco harvester in a field located near the intersection of Cullen Road and Swain’s Mill Road.

“Apparently, some of the tobacco became lodged or jammed in the harvester,” the Sheriff said. “The young man then stopped the forward progress of the harvester and exited the driver’s seat in an effort to dislodge the tobacco. Apparently his shirt got caught on some sort of moving part and it pulled the young man into the machinery, resulting in an injury which caused his death.”

Sheriff Vaughan added that another farm worker was at the other end of the same tobacco field.

“That person noticed the harvester was stopped and when it didn’t began moving after about 10 minutes, that person went to investigate and found out what had occurred,” said the Sheriff, adding that Cotton died at the scene.

Hertford County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Ronnie Stallings investigated the accident, one that was reported at 11:24 a.m.

Members of the Harrellsville Fire Department, Winton Fire Department and Hertford County EMS responded to the scene.

“I didn’t know much about this young man, but from listening to people talk about him he was a very hard worker,” Sheriff Vaughan stated. “It’s tragic when a death occurs due to an accident. This one is even more tragic due to the young age of the victim.”