Tractor repair work turns deadly

Two fatalities, one in Washington County and another in Athens County, were reported over the weekend.

A Stanleyville area man died at Marietta Memorial Hospital Sunday afternoon from injuries received after a piece of tractor equipment he was repairing blew apart, according to Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks.

Adam D. Biehl, 31, of 1585 Stanleyville Road, was working on a tractor at a farm on 1385 Fisher Ridge Road in Barlow Township around 3 p.m. when he sustained serious injuries after a tractor part fractured.

Mincks said Biehl and two other individuals had replaced a bad fuel injector pump on the tractor and were revving the engine to test the pump and a cast iron clutch housing that had been installed about a month ago.

While accelerating the engine the clutch housing blew apart, sending large chunks of metal in every direction, the sheriff said, noting one piece of metal shot up through the roof of the garage that housed the tractor, and other large metal pieces were blown 30 to 40 feet away from the machinery.

“Several pieces of the metal also struck the victim, which caused his injuries,” Mincks said. “The two other men with him were not injured.”

Biehl was rushed to the MMH emergency room by the Barlow Volunteer Rescue Squad, but died at the hospital around 5 p.m. as a result of his wounds.

A second area fatality occurred following a single-vehicle crash early Saturday on Ohio 550, near milepost 5 in Ames Township, Athens County.

Jason W. Sharp, 33, of Glouster died at the scene, according to a report from the Athens Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Troopers said Sharp was driving east in a 2002 Toyota Tundra around 12:38 a.m. when the vehicle ran off the left side of the roadway and overturned. Sharp was ejected from the vehicle.

Police said Sharp was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, and an investigation was continuing Sunday.

Ohio 550 was closed for about three hours following that crash.