CHURCH HILL — A tractor and trailer collided with a farm tractor early Thursday morning, April 11. Church Hill Volunteer Fire Department responded shortly after midnight to the crash on Route 301 north just south of Hayden Road.
According to Maryland State Police, the tractor trailer, operated by Djixe Gembo Safou of Norcross, Ga. struck the rear of the John Deere farm tractor driven by Josh Leager of Sudlersville. The tractor was towing a disc harrow.
The tractor trailer continued off the road, coming to rest in a field.
Both vehicles were destroyed, police said, but the drivers sustained only minor injuries.
Safou was taken by ambulance to the University of Maryland Medical Center at Chestertown for treatment, police said. Leager declined.
A ruptured saddle tank spilled 300 gallons of fuel, contaminating the ground. Kent Island Haz-Mat 1 and Maryland Department of the Environment were dispatched to mitigate the fuel spill. Route 301 north was temporarily closed for clean-up.
State police said the driver of the tractor trailer was at fault. The report is incomplete as the investigation is ongoing, and no charges have been filed.
The farming community reached out in support of Leager and other farmers traveling the road during this season.
Leager's wife Amanda said, “He definitely had a guardian angel in that tractor with him. People just need to be aware and look for farm equipment especially right now (in planting season). They are just doing their job farming — to feed the world.”
The Maryland Department of Agriculture issued an alert on Wednesday, April 10, urging motorists to use caution during planting season.
“Farmers are legally allowed to operate farm equipment on public roadways and there are times when farm vehicles must operate on highways to move between farm and field,” said Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “I encourage all motorists to be patient when traveling on roads near Maryland farms and drive with caution to ensure the safety of motorists and farmers.”