TRIBUTES have been paid to a “hard working”, “highly regarded” young farmer and footballer from Sidmouth who tragically died after being trapped in his tractor.
The death of former Sidmouth College student and Sidmouth Town Football Club player, named locally as Kevin Dorman, 25, has left those that knew him shocked and devastated.
Police officers, including forensic collision investigators, spent more than 10 hours at the scene of the tragedy near Houghton Farm on the Northmostown road between Otterton and Newton Poppleford.
The young farmer died after the tractor he was driving ploughed through a hedge and toppled over a high bank into the road below.
It is understood that he had been cutting grass in the nearby fields shortly before and the trailer, estimated to weigh about nine tonnes, was laden with grass.
The weight of the trailer crushed the tractor trapping him inside.
The road was closed for 10-and-a-half hours while the “complicated” recovery of the casualty and the equipment was conducted by specialist crewmen from Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service.
The tragic incident occurred at around 12.30pm on Monday, May 19.
Kevin was pronounced dead at the scene. His next-of-kin have been informed.
Kevin had been one of Sidmouth Town Football Club’s star forwards for several years and was a “prolific” goal scorer for the first and second team.
More recently he had taken time out from the team due to injury but was still enthusiastically involved with the club.
On behalf of the team, club secretary Andy Argyle said: “We are all so saddened to hear the news and Kevin will be sorely missed.
“He was a prolific goal scorer and good trainer and a very loyal and hard working member of the club.
“He loved football and playing for Sidmouth Town, he was a regular at the club, even when he was injured he’d come up and chat – he was good company.”
Kevin had been a general farm worker for Clinton Devon Estates for around a year.
John Varley, estates director expressed his shock and sadness at the tragedy. “The whole Clinton Devon team, especially all Kevin’s colleagues on the farm, are absolutely devastated by what has happened,” he added.
“Kevin was an extremely hard working and well regarded team member.
“Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with all Kevin’s family and friends at this dreadful time.”
Senior investigating officer, Sergeant Nick Bloomfield from the Serious Collision Unit in Exeter confirmed that the tractor appeared to have been travelling back through the field when it kept going and ploughed through the hedge and over a high bank into Pinn Lane.
“It appears that as the tractor came down the slope, for whatever reason, it kept going in a straight line and the tractor was crushed by the trailer trapping the driver inside,” explained Sgt Bloomfield.
An investigation into the cause of the incident is ongoing.
Nearby resident Richard Gibbons pledged his condolences to the victim and his family and praised the efforts of the emergency services.
“They couldn’t have responded any quicker,” he said. “The time it took them to turn up was magnificent.
“I’ve never seen so many police and ambulances, the whole road was full and the road completely blocked.
“It’s very sad,” he added.
Police informed the Health and Safety Executive of the incident.
Police are appealing for witnesses of the incident to contact them on 101 and quote log number 330 of the 19/5/14.