Toddler thrown from vehicle after colliding with combine in Lafayette County

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer
2-year-old, driver in critical condition after crashing into combine in Lafayette County.

WILLOW SPRINGS, WI – An investigation into a crash involving a farm combine that left a toddler and a 24-year-old man hospitalized with life-threatening injuries is ongoing.

According to the Layfayette County Sheriff's Office, Manuel De Jesus Reyes-Avilla was traveling on Highway 23 in the town of Willow Springs around 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 9, when he attempted to pass a line of vehicles following a combine in a no-passing zone.

While the Darlington man was attempting to pass, his vehicle, a 2011 Toyota Highlander, hit the left front wheel of the John Deere combine operated by Thomas Pratt, 63, of Dodgeville, as the farm vehicle was turning off of the highway. Authorities say the contact between the two vehicles caused De Jesus Reyes-Avilla to lose control of the SUV. The man's vehicle flipped several time before coming to rest in a ditch.

The sheriff's office says the 2-year-old passenger was ejected from the vehicle during the crash. The child and De Jesus Reyes-Avilla were transported to Upland Hills Medical Center in Dodgeville before being airlifted to UW Hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Pratt was not injured in the crash.

In 2014, it became illegal to pass an implement of husbandry (IOH) which include farm tractors and farm machinery, or an Ag-Commercial Motor Vehicle, trucks that are specially designed for agricultural work, in a no-passing zone.