Driver died after dig­ger hit live power ca­ble

Rossendale Free Press - - Front Page - ALEX GREEN freep­ress­news@men-news.co.uk

AFATHER-OF-TWO died after be­ing elec­tro­cuted when a crane on top of the dig­ger he was driv­ing hit a live over­head power line, an in­quest heard.

Matthew Drum­mond, who lived on Lin­den Av­enue, Rams­bot­tom, backed his dig­ger into the ca­ble at Heaton Farm in Mid­dle­ton on April 8 last year, the hear­ing was told. He was pro­nounced dead at the scene.

An in­quest into the tragedy heard that the farmer who des­per­ately tried to save Mr Drum­mond, 28, suf­fered a ma­jor elec­tric shock him­self and ended up in hospi­tal after be­ing thrown back­wards.

Mr Drum­mond’s wife Claire, a GP at Rams­bot­tom Group Prac­tice, last saw her hus­band the morn­ing of his death.

Dur­ing the Hey­wood hear­ing she said: “That morn­ing he was ab­so­lutely fine. He was his nor­mal happy and chatty self. He was ex­cited about the job be­cause he might get more work from this man. We said we would meet up for lunch but I didn’t hear from him.”

A jury recorded a con­clu­sion of ac­ci­den­tal death. Farmer David Hey­wood told how he first thought the young man was hav­ing a heart at­tack. He said: “I started to walk to­wards the wagon. I could see him and I thought he was hav­ing a heart at­tack. I said “What’s wrong with you?”

Mr Hey­wood ex­plained that as he walked to­wards Mr Drum­mond, he felt what seemed to be an elec­tric shock. He re­called: “I felt tin­gling in my arms and re­alised what it was. I shouted ‘I’m sorry, I can’t help you’ and I was thrown back­wards over some rub­ble.”

The fa­ther-of-three ran to his car to get his phone and called the po­lice shortly be­fore 2.30pm. A he­li­copter, am­bu­lance and the po­lice then ar­rived.

Mr Hey­wood was taken to hospi­tal where he stayed overnight.

Asked about whether the elec­tri­cal lines had ap­pro­pri­ate warn­ings on them, the farmer said: “The power lines were very ob­vi­ous as we en­tered the field.”

Mr Drum­mond was mov­ing sand to the farm which Mr Hey­wood planned to use to fill in ruts in his fields when the crane came into con­tact with the over­head wire.

Mr Hey­wood was in his car at the time check­ing on his young daugh­ter and only re­alised Mr Drum­mond was in dan­ger when he turned around.

A tox­i­col­ogy re­port showed Mr Drum­mond had trace lev­els of the seda­tive promet­hazine in his blood. But the re­port also noted the risk of this hav­ing an ad­verse af­fect on Mr Drum­mond was low.

The hear­ing was told Mr Drum­mond met his wife Claire in 2007 after he was hired for a job on her par­ents’ farm. She was at­tend­ing univer­sity but when she re­turned for good they struck up a re­la­tion­ship.

Dr Drum­mond told the hear­ing her hus­band was a “kind and gen­er­ous man” who was “fit and healthy” un­til his death.

She said that Mr Drum­mond had once driven a vin­tage trac­tor from Bury to Torquay for char­ity.

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