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Man killed in farm accident

January 20, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

GLENGARY, W.Va. - A well-known farmer in the Glengary area died Saturday when a tractor he was using to load hay tipped over on him, family members said.

Paul H. DeHaven, 73, died when the accident occurred at his farm about 10:30 a.m. Saturday, said his son, Donald P. DeHaven of Glengary.

DeHaven was loading hay onto a trailer and was backing away from it when it appears the tractor slipped over an embankment and fell on DeHaven, pinning him, his son said.

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DeHaven's wife, Elsie Riner DeHaven, knew her husband was loading the hay and knew about how long it would take her husband to finish the job, Donald DeHaven said.

When Elsie DeHaven noticed her husband had not finished the work within that amount of time, she became worried, Donald DeHaven said.

Elsie DeHaven went down to the scene and found her husband, he said.

Rescue officials who responded to the accident declined to comment Sunday. They referred questions to the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department. No one at the sheriff's department could be reached Sunday night.

Glengary is a small community located in southwestern Berkeley County west of Gerrardstown, W.Va.

DeHaven and his wife are well-known in the Glengary area because of the many years they spent farming there and also for the 28 years they spent as owners of Glengary Grocery.

The small grocery store at the corner of W.Va. 45 and W.Va. 7 also included a post office. Elsie DeHaven was the postmaster before she retired several years ago. She did most of the work running the store and Paul helped out, but spent most of his time farming, friends said.

On Sunday, Glengary residents described the couple as friendly and eager to help their community.

The couple was especially supportive of the Back Creek Valley Fire Department, said Gary White, member of the fire department and former chief.

The DeHavens used to sell gas at the Glengary Grocery and the fire department filled up its trucks there, White said.

When the tones sounded at the fire department, White said he often remembers Paul DeHaven stopping traffic at the intersection outside the store so the fire engines could roll through.

"Paul's going to be pretty well missed," White said.

The location of Saturday's accident was about 100 yards from the store, Donald DeHaven said.

Experts say accidents that claim the lives of farmers underscore the serious dangers associated with the occupation.

Farming has one of the highest fatality rates of all occupations, which can be attributed to the fact that farmers receive little formal safety training and cannot afford newer equipment that offers better safety mechanisms, federal and local agricultural officials have said.

Last March, a 64-year-old farmer died when a large bale of hay weighing more than 500 pounds rolled down the arm of a tractor and struck him while he was working along W.Va. 45 west of Martinsburg, W.Va., near Rocky Knoll School.

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