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Tractor pull accident victim files suit against fair board

POSTED October 19, 2012 4:34 p.m.

A man injured during a tractor pull at the Stanislaus County Fair last year has filed a lawsuit claiming the fair board and others were responsible for his injuries because the event was “improperly managed.”

The lawsuit was filed Aug. 22 in Stanislaus County Civil Court by plaintiff Loy Riddle, who was injured when he was pinned underneath a 32,000 pound tractor sleigh during a show at the fairgrounds on July 20, 2011.

The lawsuit names the Stanislaus County Fair Board, the Valley Tractor Pullers Association and Does 1 through 50 as defendants.

The lawsuit is seeking an unspecified amount in damages for Riddle’s physical injuries and emotional duress. Riddle’s wife and son are also named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Riddle was helping with set up during the show when the 32,000-pound tractor sleigh backed over him and trapped him underneath its massive bulk. The Turlock Fire Department was called to the arena and rescued Riddle by using a forklift to lift up the sled. The sled was so heavy that 10 to 15 people had to climb onto the forklift to counter the weight, the fire department reported at the time.

A medical helicopter was landed in the arena and Riddle was rushed to an area hospital for treatment.

According to the court records, Riddle sustained a compound fracture of his left ankle, a crushed pelvis, punctured lungs, fractured ribs and other injuries, abrasions and lacerations.

The lawsuit claims the defendants “failed to conduct the event in a safe manner” and didn’t adequately train individuals operating the machinery. The lawsuit also claims the fair board and the tractor association were negligent in “providing audible or visible warnings regarding the dangerous machinery.”

Riddle is being represented by the Curtis Legal Group in Modesto.

The lawsuit is scheduled for a case management conference Dec. 24.

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