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Runaway tractor at Labor Day celebration results in only minor injuries

DIAGONAL — A mechanical malfunction at the Diagonal tractor pull sent a runaway tractor and sled off the track and near spectators on Sunday afternoon.

No one was seriously injured, but one spectator was taken to the hospital to check on minor injuries and was released.

Jim Norris, a member of the Diagonal Lions Club, said the momentum of the weight box on the sled pushed the tractor up the embankment at the end of the 350-foot track.

“The transmission under the weight box broke,” Norris said. “When they realized the sled malfunctioned, they were already a ways down the track. In the process of getting everything stopped, the box (on the sled) free rode, and the momentum of the box sent the tractor forward.”

The malfunction ended the pulls for the day, but organizers were able to fix the transmission and finish the competition Monday afternoon.

Norris said organizers have already discussed preliminary plans to make the event safer next year like extending the end of the track and putting up cement barriers. He said the details will be finalized at a future meeting.

“You can’t control mechanical failures, but you can take precautions to make sure people are safe, and that’s what we are going to do,” Norris said.

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