GREENFORD, Ohio (WKBN) – Former Ohio Congressman Jim Traficant was critically injured in a tractor accident in Greenford on Tuesday evening.
According to his wife Patricia, Traficant was at his daughter’s home on South Range Road Tuesday night when the accident happened just before 8 p.m.
According to Goshen Township Police Chief Steven T. McDaniel, Traficant was driving a 1943 Ford tractor into a pole building when he lost control and struck a large steel blade. This caused the tractor to roll over backwards, pinning Traficant underneath.
The man who was looking to buy some used farm equipment from the former congressman called 911 after he found Traficant.
Green Township Fire Chief Todd Baird was one of the first responders on the scene Tuesday. Baird and other firefighters were able to lift the tractor off Traficant.
The former congressman did not have a pulse and paramedics immediately started CPR. Traficant was taken to Salem Community Hospital and was later flown to St. Elizabeth Health Center by helicopter. He remains in critical condition.
Baird said lifting the tractor off Traficant by hand saved them precious time in the rescue.
It is the same farm where Traficant raised prize show horses and later became the center of his corruption trial because prosecutors said he received free contracting and paving work at the farm and ordered his staff to perform tasks there for free. The deed for the property was later transferred to his daughter.
Those who know him best said the farm was a home away from home for the long time lawmaker.
“It was something that he really cherished. And he loved being there. He was really a farmer and he would work as hard as anybody. He actually knew how to do the planting. He knew how to drive tractors. He knew the agricultural side of his farm,” Mahoning County Commissioner Anthony Traficanti said.
Traficant served nearly two decades as a U.S. Congressman representing the 17th District. He was convicted of taking bribes while in office and sentenced to seven years in prison. He was released in 2009 and has been in and out of the public eye hosting a radio show, a weekend television talk show and authored a book. Most recently he has not been involved in any public projects.
After hearing of Traficant’s injuries, Congressman Tim Ryan, D-Niles, issued the following statement:
“I am saddened to hear this news about former Congressman Traficant. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”