Belfast Telegraph

Co Tyrone farmer dies in tractor crash as he tends herds

By Adrian Rutherford

An 81-year-old man who had farmed all his life was killed in a road accident while looking after his animals on Boxing Day.

William Mehaffey, who lived with his elderly sister, died in the one-vehicle incident near his home at Donemana, Co Tyrone.

The exact circumstances of the accident are not clear.

DUP councillor Allan Bresland, who knew Mr Mehaffey well, said black ice was one factor which police were looking at.

"It seems he was out on the tractor looking after his flock," he said.

"We don't know for certain what happened, police are looking at if there was a patch of black ice on the road."

Mr Mehaffey had been driving a blue New Holland tractor at the time of the accident, which took place on the Dunnyboe Road around 12.30pm on Thursday.

Mr Bresland said he was well known in the area.

"William was a very civil type of man," he added.

"He was very quiet, any time you saw him he was looking after his livestock.

"He had spent his whole life in the area.

"He was still going at 81, but you wouldn't have seen him do anything else.

"People are shocked by it.

"It is terrible news at this time of the year. My thoughts and sympathies are with his family."

SDLP councillor Patsy Kelly urged people to take care on the roads.

"This is the worst possible news that any family can receive just a day after Christmas," he said.

"My immediate thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this very difficult time.

"I understand the pressure that farmers are under to continue labour-intensive work over the holiday period to provide for their families.

"I would urge everyone to take extra steps to ensure that they are safe and don't take any unnecessary risks, especially at this time of year."

Police have appealed for anyone who witnessed the incident or who was travelling on the Dunnyboe Road around the time of the accident to come forward.

They can be contacted on 0845 600 8000.

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