Wrongful death suit filed against tractor company

Published 8:39 pm Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the 40-year-old Selma man who was killed last year in a tractor accident.

Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., announced the filing Tuesday of a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the family of William DeShannon Thomas, who was killed on Aug. 13, 2015, while fueling a John Deere 4440 tractor.

“Deere & Company should have known the John Deere 4440 posed an unreasonable risk to all persons operating the tractor,” said Chris Glover, attorney representing the family.

“The design of this tractor is flawed in that the design and guarding of the machine permitted and encouraged the users to start the tractor from a dangerous position. Mr. Thomas was fulfilling his duty to maintain the tractor as instructed, which resulted in his tragic death.”

According to the law firm, the tractor jumped forward and ran Thomas over while he was fueling the machine.

Efforts to reach John Deere and Company Inc. for comment Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Dallas County Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Granthum described the scene to the Times-Journal after the accident last year.

“He was in the process of refueling it when it happened. You could see where he had the hose in the tractor,” Granthum said at the time. “We don’t know if the tractor jumped into gear or he knocked it into gear, but the tractor was running.”

Granthum said Thomas was known for providing a helping hand when needed.

“He was a good guy. He helped around the community,” Granthum said. “Everybody thought highly of him. I never heard anything negative about him. He was just helping out on a farm.”