Girl Dies When Tractor Topples Into A Creek

A 4-year-old North Carolina girl is dead and a relative faces charges of driving while impaired after a farm tractor they were riding rolled off a gravel road into a small creek.

The Associated Press reports that Leala Hardy died in Monday's accident near Thomasville. She was riding on the tractor driven by 50-year-old John William Patterson.

The state Highway Patrol has charged him with driving while impaired. It couldn't be immediately determined Wednesday if Patterson has a lawyer.

Patrol First Sgt. B.D. Stalvey says the tractor overturned down an embankment into a small creek. Stalvey says troopers are consulting with Davidson County's district attorney on whether further charges are justified.


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  • by Melvin Location: Jacksonville on Dec 29, 2011 at 05:04 AM
    I have had my grandsons ride on my lap while I mowed the lawn without incident. The key difference was, I was not drinking. Many are blaming the machine and those North Carolinians who allow kids to ride on their laps on various pieces of motorized equipment. Its not the person nor the equipment.....its the booze. Machines, booze, and kids are a recipe for injury.
  • by angie Location: mt. olive on Dec 29, 2011 at 04:45 AM
    People are always ready to blame but, guess what accidens do happen. Most of us had a social drink this Christmas. Does any one know how much this man had? That dosen't mean that something couldn't have happened to one of our loved ones at that time. Anyway, my point is things can happen whether drinking or not and I am sure that this person is going to remember this forever. Prayers for everyone involved.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Dec 29, 2011 at 11:14 AM in reply to angie
      I spent my Christmas in my house and had 2 flute glasses of champagne, along with food. There were however no tractors in my living or dining room and I didn't drive anywhere.
    • reply
      by Mike on Dec 29, 2011 at 11:41 AM in reply to angie
      Spelling and English weren't your best subjects huh? Bet you pack a great pickle though.
  • by 250 Location: Jax on Dec 29, 2011 at 04:40 AM
    Sometimes after scanning a days worth of news I listen to music and ponder.. How did I make it two50 with out killing myself. Beating my wife, or killing my offspring now in their 20's. Never stabbed my inlaws at family get-togethers either. Not been in the blotter. Hmmmmmmm I must be doing something. I did not start school at age 4 either. WOW I am blessed beyond belief.
  • by got the point Location: chocowinity on Dec 29, 2011 at 03:29 AM
    poor grammar not every one has a rich daddy to send to collage
    • reply
      by teacher on Dec 29, 2011 at 03:28 PM in reply to got the point
      Grammar is learned in elementary school, not college.
  • by me Location: bayboro on Dec 28, 2011 at 02:36 PM
    Our thoughts and prayers are with this family.
  • by Formerly O.L.I. Location: ENC on Dec 28, 2011 at 01:24 PM
    Well, it's done now. How sad right after Christmas.
  • by jo Location: nc on Dec 28, 2011 at 08:31 AM
    I know this whole family is suffering including the relative on the tractor. I have a 4 year old daughter and we also live on a creek and have a tractor. I can really sympathize with them-my prayers are with them.
  • by Will Location: Greenville on Dec 28, 2011 at 08:12 AM
    This is so sad! My prayers go out to the family
  • by ncyankee Location: enc on Dec 28, 2011 at 07:45 AM
    such a sad story, thoughts and prayers for this family. one question, what was this guy doing drinking and taking this young girl on a tractor ride. he should have know better... so sad, this precious little girl is gone, and he has to live with that the rest of his life. when will people learn. such a sad story..
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Dec 28, 2011 at 10:17 AM in reply to ncyankee
      It's a pointless question. That is the entire point of the story after all.. negligent behavior. With or without passengers, you're not supposed to drive anything while impaired. You might well question why a 4 yr old needed to be on the tractor at all, even if the driver were not impaired. It's obvious the entire situation was wrong.
  • by L Dring Location: Beaufort on Dec 28, 2011 at 07:36 AM
    I seen children on laps of people on lawnmowers. Children on four wheelers. I seen children in them back of trucks. Sickening
    • reply
      by Sickening? on Dec 28, 2011 at 11:02 AM in reply to L Dring
      What about the children that don't get 3 square meals a day? Abusive parents that hit them and/or belittle them? What about children that have no shoes because their deadbeat daddy won't send $50 a week to support them? What about the kids that go without medications when they're sick because daddy decided that a bottle of liquor was more important?
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Dec 28, 2011 at 03:21 PM in reply to Sickening?
        Sounds like you have an ax to grind with "daddy". Momma is just as much to blame in most instances.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Dec 28, 2011 at 08:49 PM in reply to Sickening?
        What about the actual story?
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Dec 28, 2011 at 11:15 AM in reply to L Dring
      Why, because every child should be put in a bubble? Millions if not billions of kids over the years have been around tractors, lawnmowers, and the beds of trucks and aren't injured. Tell you what, how about we outlaw everything that has ever hurt anyone in any way. Maybe then we can outlaw the whiners because they hurt my ears. On topic: I feel for this family greatly and for this man who most likely only did it so the little girl would smile. I make no excuses about the alcohol, which is and should be inexcusable, but just riding on a tractor is something every kid should probably do at some point, if only for the experience. Rest in peace, little one.
      • reply
        by Easy folks.... on Dec 28, 2011 at 03:11 PM in reply to
        This is about a tragic death involving driving while impaired. You guys are blowing this into something not related at all. Jeeez!
    • reply
      by anonymous on Dec 28, 2011 at 01:48 PM in reply to L Dring
      Glad you seen it! I have seen or I see, which did you mean?
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Dec 28, 2011 at 03:24 PM in reply to anonymous
        Mabie yew coold git a job at WITN and corekt evrie uns speelling and grammerr.
      • reply
        by me on Dec 28, 2011 at 05:11 PM in reply to anonymous
        after trying to type on my new kindle, I have a lot more tolerance for mis-spelling. It's hard. Much better to use type-writer lessons for a keyboard. That said, I hate that this family is going thru this tragedy. My sympathies.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Dec 28, 2011 at 08:52 PM in reply to me
          "I seen" is poor grammar. It happens all too often and having nothing to do with a typo. I understand the irritation this causes some readers.
      • reply
        by WARNING on Dec 29, 2011 at 06:31 AM in reply to anonymous
        If grammar and spelling are high on your priority list, then this site is not for you! Unfortunately an education is not a requirement to voice your opinion.(Freedom of Speech) In some cases this is not a bad thing, but in this panel of the highest you better believe they're going to disect every word you write, for they have nothing better to do.(H8Rs gonna H8!) Some people type like they talk which adds a bit of flavor to the written word. As long as I can understand the point they are trying to get across, I can overlook a few mistakes. Doesn't mean I agree with their point of veiw, just means I'm not consumed with pointing out others mistakes. Especially when the story is about a trajic event such as this.
    • reply
      by Overboard on Dec 29, 2011 at 06:41 AM in reply to L Dring
      L Dring is going overboard on this one. Typically, kids can do all the things listed without harm. Mowers, 4 wheelers, back of trucks. The one thing that causes problems is when the ADULT is wasted!
    • reply
      by driver on Dec 29, 2011 at 09:01 AM in reply to L Dring
      I "seen" people texting and yakking on their cell phones while driving, or shall I say weaving, down the road .. every ^%$^ day ... sickening.
      • reply
        by Formerly O.L.I. on Dec 29, 2011 at 04:12 PM in reply to driver
        That's a truth; me too.
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