• January 17, 2023

John Robey Killed by Falling Hay Bales on County Road S in Pierce County, WI

Rock Elm Township, WI — January 14, 2023, 60-year-old John Robey died after being hit by hay bales that fell off a truck's trailer in Pierce County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 8:30 a.m. at one of the township's farms on County Road S. Preliminary investigation suggests a 66-year-old man in a Peterbilt tractor-trailer was delivering hay bales there when its cargo may have shifted for unknown reasons. The bales fell off the truck's flatbed trailer and struck Robey. He was rushed to an area hospital and was pronounced dead a short time later.

The investigation is ongoing. No further information is currently available.

It's obviously more than a little troubling to see that a truck's loose cargo seems to be responsible for the sudden end of a man's life. I doubt police are done working out the specifics, but I hope their investigation will ultimately provide answers to many questions the first releases from the press couldn't: How did those hay bales fall off the trailer? Did they fall after being unsecured by farm staff, or did they get loose on their own? Were they properly secured to begin with? Who was in charge of making sure that happened? Where did the bales come from? Could or should something have been done differently to prevent this terrible accident?

Answering those will take careful and thorough analysis, both at the scene (examining the delivery area, the truck, the trailer, the bales' securing points and what held them down) and beyond (the truck and trailer's maintenance history, the driver's health and driving records, paperwork and interviews at the cargo's origin and destination, and much more). I'm not making accusations or suggesting I know more than the press has said, but I can't be alone in thinking the story so far is far from complete. As frustrating as I find that, I can't imagine the way it feels for the folks who lost a loved one on that farm. They deserve as many answers as can be found; I just hope authorities will ensure they get them.

John Robey Killed by Falling Hay Bales on County Road S in Pierce County, WI
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