An accident involving 10 people who were being transported in a tractor’s front bucket has killed three children younger than 5 and one adult last week, according to police in Quebec. The CBC, a major news outlet in Canada, said that the 38-year-old driver of the tractor has been charged with criminal negligence causing death and negligence causing bodily.
It’s a heartbreaking reminder of how important farm safety is and the care that people have to take around agricultural equipment.
According to reports, it’s unclear why the 10 people — six children and four adults — who were riding in the bucket were thrown from the vehicle in the province’s Montérégie region. No other vehicle appears to have been involved, and the CBC said the tractor was also carrying wood as the group was headed to a party.
Three children died the day of the accident, while one of the adults succumbed to injuries a couple of days later. Several other people were also injured.
Luc Perreault, who lives near the scene of the accident, said it’s rare but not unheard of for people to ride in the loader of a tractor.
“We used to do that when we were kids, you know, with Grandpa’s old tractor sometimes, get in the bucket,” he told the Toronto Sun. “But not to that magnitude, so many people.”
Though police initially suspected that alcohol could have been a factor, the driver is not expected to be charged with alcohol-related crimes
According to CTV News, the accused was released on $5,000 bail and several conditions, including a communication ban with certain people involved in the tragedy. He is also prohibited from driving a motor vehicle, except in the event of an emergency or work. He also faces a ban on operating agricultural machinery unless he does it alone.
Legal proceedings have been set for Sept. 28.