Tractor runs away with dog at the wheel

10:52 17 January 2014

Henry Selway

Henry Selway's tractor ended up on its side after running away down a steep hill at Colyton

Archant

Vehicle narrowly misses Colyton house as it careers down a steep hill with only Molly the Collie in the driving seat

A runaway tractor narrowly missed smashing into a house after the brakes failed and it careered down a steep hill – with only the farmer’s Collie dog in the driving seat.

Henry Selway had parked at the top of a slope in a residential area of Colyton, while he joined his daughter for lunch, leaving his faithful hound waiting in the cab.

But while the 77-year-old was eating his meal, the handbrake on his Ford 7840 tractor failed and the vehicle hurtled down the road – with Molly the dog helpless in the front seat.

The tractor sped across the road, broke through a garden fence, and came to rest just feet from a neighbouring property.

Thankfully the homeowners were away on holiday at the time, but were relieved when they returned to learn their home had escaped unscathed.

He said: “I’ve been driving tractors since I was 14, and that day I parked my tractor as I always do – with the handbrake on and the wheels turned inwards.

“I only became aware of the incident when a scaffolder shouted over to me that the tractor was rolling off with my dog inside. I couldn’t believe it.”

The tractor was found on its side in the garden with Molly unhurt and the handbrake still on.

Now the case is being highlighted by Henry’s insurance company, Cornish Mutual, to help raise awareness of the need for farmers to ensure their vehicles are regularly serviced and maintained.

Although tractors do not require an MOT by law, the majority of motor insurance policies state that all reasonable precautions must be taken to keep the insured vehicle in a proper state of repair. Vehicles should be well maintained so that their insurance cover remains valid.

A spokesman said: “In this case, Henry did put the handbrake on and leave his vehicle in a safe position, but accident investigators highlighted that the age of the vehicle, and the cold weather conditions that day, might have resulted in the handbrake failing.”

Henry said: “The tractor caused quite a bit of damage, but thankfully no one was injured and the damage to the property was limited to the owner’s fence and a number of trees, which were replaced. I grew up leaving my tractor in gear as the ultimate failsafe, but with these new tractors you can’t do that.”

Alan Goddard, managing director for Cornish Mutual, said: “There is no suggestion that Henry was at fault here, but it is a timely reminder that these things can happen. By making people aware of this incident we can highlight the need for farmers to make sure their vehicles are in the best condition they can be.”

0 comments

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 16:00
Tony is raising money for Devon Air Ambulance Trust.

Tony Farnaby is taking on a 190 mile-long ride around Devon for the lifesaving charity.

Read more
Yesterday, 06:59
Lifeboat Neville Causley. Photo RICHARD HOROBIN

Axminster landlord retires from Lyme lifeboat crew after 25 years of dedicated service

Read more
Yesterday, 13:09
Elections take place on May 7

East Devon’s election chief has apologised after an error was identified in the postal voting papers sent out to some electors.

Read more
Sunday, April 26, 2015
Volunteer Karen Poucher at The Thelma Hulbert Gallery proves that there is more than one string to her bow as she plays one of the exhibits in the 'Installation by sound' by Michael Fairfax. Ref mhh 5327-15-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

The ‘Drop Me A Line’ exhibition, created by Michael Fairfax, landed at the gallery last month.

Read more
Sunday, April 26, 2015
Pupils try their hand at instrument making.

Students joined artist Michael Fairfax to create sound instruments from cherry wood.

Read more
Sunday, April 26, 2015
Pete Lowres

Devon Freewheeler volunteer Pete Lowres, 46, knows every penny that drops into the charity’s collection pots is vital to continue its lifeline work.

Read more
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Craig Boyde who will be riding from Watchet to West Bay. Ref mhh 5896-17-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Craig Boyde will be cycling from Watchet in Somerset to West Bay in Dorset on Sunday, May 17.

Read more
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Local dignitries at the gardening event at the Honiton Hospice day care centre. Ref mhh 5386-16-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

A team from Honiton Round Table and other volunteers gave their time to help plant the garden at Hospiscare’s new day hospice in Honiton.

Read more
Saturday, April 25, 2015

Devon Freewheelers operates daily ‘hand-to-mouth’, never knowing where its next penny will come from.

Read more
Friday, April 24, 2015
The Lions' Santa float could enjoy an even brighter welcome when it visits Colyton again this year. Photo Ian Barradale.

An offer is in place to brighten up the town with new Christmas lights this year.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 5°C

Most Read News

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Midweek Herald e-edition today E-edition



Honiton's trusted business finder