Photo courtesy WSAZ-TV

State Police say John Kay of Southside was killed Wednesday when the farm tractor he was operating was struck broadside by an SUV.


SOUTHSIDE, W.Va. — An Ohio motorist could face negligent homicide charges for an accident which left a Mason County man dead.  

State Police said John Henry Kay, 46, of Southside, W.Va. was killed Wednesday when his farm tractor was struck on U.S. Route 35 in Mason County.  The accident happened about eight miles west of the Mason/Putnam County line.

Troopers said John P. Howard, 68, of Gahanna, Ohio was passing multiple vehicles following the tractor in a no passing zone on the two-lane highway. Investigators said when Kay went to make a left hand turn into his farm, Howard’s vehicle struck him broadside. The impact flipped the tractor on its top and pinned Kay underneath. Kay was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators said the Mason County prosecutor is expected to charge Howard with negligent homicide since the accident happened in a no passing zone. The charges aren’t expected to be filed until the case is presented to the next Mason County grand jury.

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  • kenda ashbaugh

    Amy you guys told us a whole diffetent story in person when you brought cerenity one day then u did on here and even if you and jsmes tell ur story won't do much good whhen. the sherriff said it was jerenys fault they don't just goo iut to accident sights and not inveztivate it they make reports and check skid marks also si u can all say wat u want because no one wants to admit guilt yet to be honest would have been the best . u guys are step family to us weather u like it or not as long as ur mom is married to my brother si i have known u all longer then Anyone else and i know the truth will set u free if u. just let it.

  • Barbara

    I have been thinking about this accident since I heard about it. I am in my car more than anywhere.I drive route 35 frequently.I know neither of the gentlemen. I wanted so badly to go to Mr. Kay's funeral but I didn't, thinking it would be an intrusion.Why isn't there some safety measure that would alert drivers, such as a flashing light or something that might give the farmers a chance to do their job safely?They all work so hard, isn't it the least we can do for our farmers? My heart goes out to the Kay family. My heart goes out to their community. We forget in the midst of our busy lives that the areas we are passing by in our cars, deserve respect for those who live in them.

  • John

    My heart goes out to John Kay and his family. I hope the Lord will help them fast! I've known John Howard for years. He is an amazing human being. The thing we say is of all people to happen too . Why Mr. Howard. He tries to help everyone. I don't know Mr. Kay but they are probably saying the same. Its so sad.

  • Doug

    Such a tragedy for all involved. My thoughts are with the Kay Family during their grieving process.

    I am a student of Mr Howard's from Gahanna-Lincoln High School...Class of 1976. Mr Howard taught history and was one of my favorite teachers during my years at high school. Mr Howard worked his way up to principal and is highly respected in our community. He is a gentle giant and always had a smile on his face. I know this accident will affect his spirit and has broken his heart. The community will be excited to have him back home and help give him strength to understand why this tradagy occurred. Everything happens for a reason and we may never know why. Let's pray for all the victims of this terrible accident. I don't believe that any intent to cause death was present that moment in time and I pray the grand jury will find the truth once the investigation has been completed.

  • Beth

    We all need to stop placing blame and negativity. This is a terrible accident and my heart goes out to this family. What I must say is that John Howard is a dear friend of mine. 10 years ago my husband died in a terrible boating accident (someone else's fault due to carelessness). I was new to Columbus and had no family or friends here. John Howard reached out to me because he could see I was devastated and needed help. Without John and all of the love and concern that he gave me and my children, I am not sure if I would have survived. He walked with me during my pain and healing. I adore this man. Please remember that we all have made driving is a terrible accident, but John Howard would never mean to hurt anyone.

  • Voter

    I had some dufus pass me on Goff Mt. Rd this week in a no passing zone. I saw the same white S-10 pass in the turn lane on Rt 25. One of these days I'm going to see him in a wreck or in the ditch. Those double yellow lines are there for a reason and turn lanes are for turning not passing.

  • Matt Cindia

    Very unfortunate incident for both people involved. I personally know John Howard and can say he is loved and respected in his community as a compassionate, charitable man who has spent his life serving the public schools of Gahanna and his church. He also, unfortunately lost his wife of many years to cancer not all that long ago. He did make a terrible mistake that can not be taken back and my prayers go out to the Kay family. I felt this needed to be said as some of the comments are attacking his character, he is not a criminal.

    • Joe Dudas

      I have known John for years and I don't believe I know anyone with a finer character. He has done so much for so many people. He has been selected Catholic man of the year in Columbus Ohio. His punishment is that he will have to live with this horrible accident for the rest of his life. Any derogatory comment toward John without knowing him are truly unfounded. I pray for the Kay family and for John hoping they will find peace for this most unfortunate tragedy.

  • poca guy

    Jay, you are exactly right. We see this every day people doing crap like this because them getting where they want to go is more important than the safety of everyone around them.

  • Aaron

    This is a common occurrence and is exactly why the state should have used $45 million from the rainy day fund when that is all that was needed to complete construction Route 35. Had our legislatures taken action then, this death would not have occurred.

    • Mason County Contrarian

      Once again our irresponsible state and local politicians have made any responsible actions by government slower than molasses, even when it comes to taking steps to save lives. This is inexcusable and unconscionable.

      Don't know when or where the next fatality will occur, but I do know we are one day closer to it.

      Time to sweep the statehouse and the county courthouse clean.

  • Mason County Contrarian

    Traveled Rt. 35 Monday afternoon and later returned on Rt. 62 to avoid the speeders.

    Would it be possible to charge politicians who have failed to act to complete this 14-mile death trap as having civil liability?

  • agravated

    I would hope the prosecutor could/would identify additional charges against Mr. Howard. Such a needles and preventable death should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    • Darren

      Unfortunate. The real criminal is the fact this road has not been upgraded by now. farm traffic on a road like US35 will always be dangerous. By the way, I guarantee everyone on here has passed in a no passing lane when a vehicle is moving as slowly as this tractor would have been.

      • Jay

        I agree with Darren to an extent. The road needs completed (to a four-lane). While I've made mistakes on the road, I have not passed in a no passing zone. To me, that's just off limits. I also agree with Aggravated that the real blame should fall on the at-fault driver. As I wrote previously, people don't believe rules apply to them. They're in place for a reason, even when a tractor is moving slowly in a no passing zone.

        Sad situation. On a related note, I met the victim on several occasions through a summer job I worked back in my college days. He was a tremendously hardworking guy and always very polite and engaging. May his family find comfort and encouragement in dark times as they undoubtedly reflect on fond memories with him.

        • Chris H.

          I buried a TRUE FRIEND today!
          Somebody that you could ALWAYS count on. Always could make you laugh.LOVED my daughters since they met at age 7. And are now 34. And still to this day call him daddy K. Tragic,Tragic situation ......How many more families are going to have to go thru this, before this 14 miles of deadly 2 lane road are going to be built into four lanes like the rest of it.

          • Jyl B.

            This was such a senseless act! I too lost my friend in this horrific accident! Someone I have been so proud to call my friend for the past 20 years. My heart breaks for his family! Please fix this road! There will always be farm traffic! Slow down folks! There is no where you need to be in that big of a hurry! I would give anything to hear my friends beautiful laugh again and that right has been taken away!

        • Darren

          Best regards and prayers for the Kay family

      • agravated

        I can assure Darren That I have never passed anyone in a no passing zone. By the way, the real criminal is the person breaking the law and killing and innocent farmer. There are thousands of miles of road that need upgraded in this country and made safer. This incident was not a matter of safety it was a matter of breaking the law. Plan and simple.