HARLINGEN — A 67-year-old cotton gin worker was killed Wednesday after a tractor ran over him, Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio said.
Investigators believe Jose Isaias Leal of Progreso fell from the tractor about 7:30 a.m. at the Lyford Gin off Rangerville Road, Lucio said.
“He fell under the wheel and the tractor ran over him,” Lucio said at a news conference.
Lucio said there were no witnesses to the accident.
Co-workers found Leal’s body. Lucio said investigators could not determine why Leal fell from the tractor.
But Lucio said heart problems may have led to Leal — who had open-heart surgery about three years ago — to fall from the tractor.
“That could have contributed to it,” Lucio said.
Officials with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration met with cotton gin General Manager Gerald Milligan at the site of the accident Wednesday afternoon, said Karen Lucio, a clerk at the gin.
Milligan could not be reached for comment.
Authorities ran accident scene tape from a warehouse to two tractors at the gin Wednesday.
Leal had worked at the gin for about 20 years, the sheriff said.