Tractor Fatality: NO ROPS
KNOX — A town man was killed Tuesday night when he became pinned under his tractor while pulling a tree he had just cut down on his Pleasant Valley Road farm, Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said.
Stephen Browne, 73, was killed instantly around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. He was found by his wife an hour later, Apple said.
Browne had cut the tree down with a chain saw, hitched it to his tractor and was pulling it up a hill, but the load was too heavy, the sheriff said. The weight of the tree flipped the tractor by its front wheels and trapped Browne under the vehicle, Apple said.
Browne's wife, Mary Browne, had heard her husband cut down the tree from their house, but didn't realize that anything might be wrong until an hour passed and she had not seen or heard him, Apple said. She then left her house and made the grisly discovery, the sheriff said.
"It's a tragic, terrible accident," Apple said.
The victim lived on a sprawling 150-acre farm, a portion of which the family had converted into a spiritual retreat.
The accident marks the second time a family member has died on the property in less than a decade.
In May of 2004, Stephen Browne found his son, Bart Browne, dead in the family barn. Bart Browne had hanged himself a month before he was to be sentenced for assault after he pleaded guilty to punching a man on Lark Street in Albany.
In an interview with the Times Union in August 2004 for an article on her son's death and the assault, Mary Browne said that Bart suffered from mental problems, including schizophrenia.
After finding his son dead, Stephen Browne did not let police near the remains until his wife came home to see his body, Mary Browne told the Times Union in 2004.
Apple said authorities had a hard time Tuesday convincing the family to allow Stephen Browne's body to be removed from the scene.
The Browne family could not be reached for comment Wednesday.