Drivers escape serious injury in tractor, SUV collision

 This was the scene of the collision Wednesday involving a farm tractor pulling a grain trailer and an SUV pulling a trailer. Neither driver was serious injured. A two-vehicle collision two miles northwest of Hills?boro Wednesday resulted in both drivers being taken to a local hospital with injuries.

According to Marion County Sheriff Robert Craft, the incident involved Vernon Bartel, 81, of rural Hillsboro, and Tamara Christensen, 41, of Durham.

The accident happened about 2 p.m., he said, when Bartel, traveling south on Kansas Highway 15 in his 1991 Case International tractor-grain trailer, attempted to make a left-hand turn onto 210th Road.

Christiansen, who was northbound on K-15 in a 2011 black GMC Yukon Denali pulling a cargo trailer was unable to avoid Bartel?s turning vehicle, which resulted in the crash, according to Craft

Damage estimates were unavailable at press time. Craft said both vehicles were towed from the scene.

Christiansen was wearing her seat belt, but Bartel was not.

?Wearing a seat belt is not a requirement (in tractors) like it is in vehicles,? Craft said.

The accident scene was cleared by about 5:45 p.m., Craft said.

?It took a long time to get enough big equipment there to get (the tractor) moved,? he said, adding that both vehicles were hauling trailers.

Responding to the scene were sheriff deputies Wilma Mueller, Travis Wilson and Derek Fetrow; Hillsboro Emergency Medical Services; Marion EMS and the Hillsboro Fire Department.

Craft said employees with the Kansas Department of Transportation directed traffic around the accident.

Vida Bartel, Vernon?s wife, said her husband was at Hillsboro Community Hospital for about three hours with head bruises and bleeding, but was released about 5 p.m. that day.

?(This accident) could have been a disaster,? she said, ?but human life was protected by God?s hand and basically (both) people walked away.?

The investigation is ongoing.

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