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Bulldozer Operator's Body Recovered After Workplace Accident

By Heather Mathis
By hmathis@wbbjtv.com

OBION Co. Tenn.- Rescue squad members were able to recover the body of a bulldozer operator Thursday, after the man accidentally drove the equipment off a 25 foot cliff at the Ford Company in Troy.

Investigators say Joe Trevathan was doing ground work, near a pit, when the dozer fell off the ledge into nearly 25 feet of muddy water.

"The other person that was working equipment noticed he couldn't be found Wednesday afternoon," Sheriff Jerry Vastbinder told 7 Eyewitness News.

The Obion County Rescue Squad along with dark water divers from the Shelby County Sheriff's Office nearly 24 hours after the work place accident.

Friends of Trevathan say he was a quiet man who loved working for the company.

"He raised cows, had a little farm, and drove a dozer," said Jesse Whiteside. "I will miss him."

"He worked for the company for 28 years," said Sheriff Vastbinder. "He put in several hours a year in this machinery operations. He was no rookie to the equipment."

Investigators say Trevathan's body will be sent to Memphis for an autopsy to see if he possibly had a medical condition before the accident.

The Federal Agency of National Mine Safety is also investigating the accident. Trevathan's funeral will be held at Murphy's funeral home in Martin.