Tractor operator killed by Highway 2 motorist

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Site of a fatal pickup vs. tractor accident on Highway 2 near Dryden on Wednesday. (Washington State Patrol)

DRYDEN — A 59-year-old Wenatchee man was killed Wednesday afternoon when the tractor he was driving was struck from behind on Highway 2 in Dryden.

The Washington State Patrol says Ruben Pacheco Lopez was driving a Kubota orchard tractor westbound on the highway at 1:20 p.m. when 32-year-old motorist Derick Kuch of Leavenworth rear-ended the tractor in a Dodge Dakota pickup.  Pacheco was thrown from the tractor and pinned underneath. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 

A passenger in the pickup, 32 year-old Deepak Gohil of Seattle, was injured and taken by ambulance to Central Washington Hospital. Kuch and two children in his vehicle, ages 5 and 6, were not injured. The children were belted into the vehicle, troopers said, but Kuch wore no seatbelt.

Troopers say they’ll seek unspecified charges in the accident against Kuch. Westbound traffic on the highway was backed up for nearly 3 miles – almost to Cashmere – during the investigation.