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St. Petersburg worker critically injured in tractor accident

A state transportation worker was seriously injured Tuesday morning when he was run over by a street sweeper as he attempted to climb on board. [CLAIRE WISEMAN   |   Times]
A state transportation worker was seriously injured Tuesday morning when he was run over by a street sweeper as he attempted to climb on board. [CLAIRE WISEMAN | Times]
Published Jul. 23, 2014

ST. PETERSBURG — A construction worker was seriously injured Tuesday when he was backed over by a brush tractor as he attempted to climb aboard.

Police said the accident happened about 7:45 a.m. in a construction zone on Fourth Street N, near Jefferson Circle SE. Mark J. Tucker, 64, of Tarpon Springs, a contract worker with Pro Way Construction, was trying to climb back onto a Kubota tractor with an attached street brush. As he climbed up, the tractor somehow slipped into reverse.

Tucker was thrown off the back of the tractor, which stands about 6 feet tall. His leg was pinned under a front tire and he was dragged. The tractor then rolled over his upper body.

Andrew Michaels, 69, was building floral arrangements at his shop nearby when he heard a thumping from the street. He went outside.

"I saw that poor man, knocked out, completely motionless," said Michaels, 69.

Police said Tucker suffered critical injuries. He was taken to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, and his injuries were considered critical Tuesday afternoon, police said.

Because the accident was at a closed construction site, the investigation will be turned over to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, police traffic homicide investigator Scott Blanchette said.