“It is very embarrassing to publicize this, especially since that is me, Doyle Peeks, trapped under that 580 Case. Yes, I gave myself a Dummy Award. I did something dumb.
I put the photo here in hopes it may keep someone else from repeating what I did. What I did is commonly referred to as “Cowboying” in the construction trades. Yes, I’ll be the first to admit, it was a dumb thing to do. Thank God I lived to tell about it.
The accident happened on October 6, 1988 on the shoreline of Lake Ray Hubbard near Dallas, Texas. I had about thirty-five years of operating experience. I just got too confident. I thought I could go racing down a slopped embankment without rolling the machine. I had always thought that if a machine ever started to roll that I could hang on to something and not be thrown off of the machine. Boy, was I ever wrong. It happened so fast, I was on the ground before I knew what was happening. Prior to falling off of the machine, I grabbed at everything I could and couldn’t find a thing to hold on to.
The roll-over protection landed on my left knee and pinned me down. It took an hour and forty-five minutes to get another machine to the site to lift it off of me. Diesel was running under me, and I was losing blood fast. My left arm was broken in five places and all but mangled. I now have a steel plate in it holding the five breaks together. I lost about fifty percent use of the arm. Thank God, I can still pull control levers with it.
Am I now paranoid about seat belts? You bet. When I mount a piece of rubber tired equipment now, the first thing I do is fasten the seat belt. I pulled a dumb, stupid stunt, but I will not be fool enough to do it again.
Young or old, experienced or not, fasten that seat belt.
Note to designers/manufacturers: A steel bar, heavy expanded metal, or pipe across each side of the small loader/backhoes could prevent an operator from falling or being thrown off of the machine.”
Category: Accident Report