Teen dies in tractor accident

Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Riley Sutherlin

Family and friends are mourning the loss of a 17-year-old Greencastle High School student following a Monday afternoon tractor accident.

Riley Sutherlin, who recently completed his junior year, was killed when the backhoe he was operating overturned.

Putnam County 911 Dispatch received the call reporting the accident at 2:09 p.m., with an Indiana State Police unit the first to arrive. Personnel from the Putnam County Sheriff's Department, Greencastle Fire Department and Operation Life soon followed.

Sheriff's department Chief Deputy Tom Helmer said the backhoe overturned as Sutherlin was trying to drive over the edge of a pile of dirt. A narrow area between the dirt and a fence did not allow for a flat passageway.

The dirt was piled in the location due to the installation of grain bins on the Cedar View Farm, the Sutherlin family farm in southeastern Greencastle Township. The young man was working on this project at the time of the accident.

The tractor got off balance and overturned, throwing Sutherlin from the cab.

Helmer said responders tried unsuccessfully to initiate CPR upon arrival.

The young man was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

Putnam County Coroner Dave Brown, along with the sheriff's department, is handling the investigation. No autopsy is planned.

A celebration of Riley's life is planned for 11 a.m. Friday at Hopkins-Rector Funeral Home, Greencastle, with Pastor Rick Thomas officiating. He will be laid to rest in the family plot at Methodist Cemetery in Mt. Meridian.

Friends may call at the funeral home from 4-8 p.m. Thursday.

While Sutherlin was a Greencastle High School student, he took agriculture classes at South Putnam High School. He was also a member of the South Putnam FFA and 4-H, in which he was the co-president of the Junior Leaders.

He was also a member of McKinley Hill Church of Christ.

Riley is the son of Ron and Alana Sutherlin and the brother of Kendra and Dillon.

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  • I feel so terrible for his parents. What a tragic loss.

    -- Posted by donantonioelsabio on Mon, Jun 23, 2014, at 7:21 PM
  • How awful. I can't imagine what the parents are going through. May the Lord comfort them during this tragic time

    -- Posted by putnamcountyproud on Mon, Jun 23, 2014, at 8:22 PM
  • Our prayers to the Sutherlin family.

    -- Posted by dodgers on Mon, Jun 23, 2014, at 8:35 PM
  • A great Christian young man. Riley will be missed. Prayers for all the family.

    -- Posted by cmgrove on Mon, Jun 23, 2014, at 8:40 PM
  • Prayers to a wonderful family during this very tragic time.

    -- Posted by chicki1112 on Mon, Jun 23, 2014, at 8:56 PM
  • Tragic loss, please pray for entire family. They need prayers now and in the weeks to come.

    -- Posted by hazesea42 on Tue, Jun 24, 2014, at 8:08 AM
  • What a tragic loss, my heart aches for his family. Please remember them in your prayers!

    -- Posted by Falcon9 on Tue, Jun 24, 2014, at 10:22 AM
  • Our hearts go out to the family and friends! Sad loss!

    -- Posted by becker on Tue, Jun 24, 2014, at 11:36 AM
  • My heart goes out to the family and friends of this young man. My prayers are with you all.

    -- Posted by interestedperson#1 on Tue, Jun 24, 2014, at 10:31 PM
  • My heart aches for his parents and siblings. I do not know the family but I know the pain the are feeling as I list my son his junior year. Many prayers for this family. To his friends and family please make sure you don't turn your back on the family or avoid them because you don't know what to say. And remember to talk about him often!

    -- Posted by tijo11967 on Mon, Jun 30, 2014, at 5:31 PM
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