by Max Brantley
On Sunday 07/10/2016 at approximately 1140 hours the Garland County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call at 1940 Three Sisters Springs Road in reference to a possible child fatality, where the child had been run over by a bush hog. Upon arrival deputies learned that a four year old white male had supposedly been riding on a tractor while the operator, Stevie Neighbors, was bush hogging a field. The tractor hit a hole causing the child to fall off and before the tractor could be stopped the child had been run over by the bush hog. The deceased child was then picked up and carried to the residence at that location and authorities were called. The Garland County Coroner’s Office and Criminal Investigation Division were contacted and came to the scene in order to investigate.Neighbors, 53, was charged with felony manslaughter, the sheriff's office said earlier.
After an investigator arrived on scene there was an indication that the operator of the tractor, Stevie Neighbors, had possibly been drinking alcohol when the incident occurred. Mr. Neighbors submitted to a Portable Breath Test at the house where he registered positive for the presence of alcohol on his breath approximately two hours after the incident occurred.
The investigator spoke with Mr. Neighbors who voluntarily allowed himself to be taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital for a blood draw. He was then he was transported to GCSO CID. Subsequent to waiving his Miranda Rights Mr. Neighbors admitted he drank three or four beers that morning while bush hogging and also admitted to smoking two marijuana joints on Friday night 07/08/2016. There was also found to be a second juvenile riding on the tractor at the time the incident occurred. This eight year old white female stated that she had been standing on the tractor and the boy had been standing on the other side of the driver just prior to the incident. The girl further stated that she saw a hole in the ground and was telling the driver about it, but she didn’t think he heard her because of the noise. When the tractor hit the hole there was a violent jerk and the both children fell. The little girl was able to catch herself on the steering wheel, but the little boy wasn’t able to do so and fell forward off the tractor. Before Mr. Neighbors could react and stop the tractor the child had already been run over by the bush hog. Mr. Neighbors admitted that he was driving the tractor in 4th gear low range at full throttle, and estimated his speed to be 4 to 5 miles per hour at the time of the incident.