Police: Man Dies After Grain Accident In Highfill

HIGHFILL (KFSM) -- A man died in Wednesday (Jan. 17) after a grain accident in Highfill, according to Police Chief Blake Webb.

James McKee, 56, of Salem, Missouri was unloading a 5-ton grain semi-trailer when he became trapped in the grain.

Police were dispatched to the scene at 14134 West Holland Avenue. Police said it happened on a private farm in Highfill.

“The driver of the semi was unloading some grain. The grain became frozen inside the trailer and subsequently once he tried to remove the grain he became entrapped and that`s when we were called,” Chief Blake Webb said.

Highfill Police Chief Blake Webb said most of their police officers are also firefighters which was helpful in this manpower intensive incident.

But he said sadly they were not able to save McKee and calls this a terrible accident.

“Normally it`s someone who has learned from tradition on how to do something and that may or may not be the safest way to do it. You can rest assured though as far as emergency services are concerned we are going to respond and we are going to do what we can to mitigate the situation and keep everybody safe,” he said.

The Benton County Extension Office said people often don`t realize how dangerous farming can be. They said in our area we primarily have animal agriculture which comes with many risks.

“The biggest part of that would be the poultry business and then the beef and dairy business. The poultry business can be dangerous because even though the animals are small there are a lot of them which requires a lot of feed which requires a lot of electricity, a lot of motors,” Extension Agent Johnny Gunsaulis said.

Investigators say the cause of death is likely suffocation. They’ve ordered an autopsy to confirm.