OTIS — Students and teachers at Otis-Bison Elementary School learned over the weekend that 7-year-old Tanner Hlavaty had died Saturday in a farm accident.
Principal Mark Goodheart said Tanner will be remembered as a great kid who was always smiling.
Families and staff received messages over the weekend, to make sure everyone was aware of the second-grade student’s death. On Monday morning, the school district’s service cooperative sent a crisis team, made up of teachers and other people who have been through this type of loss in their own communities.
"The kids today have handled it real well," Goodheart said. As the Great Bend Tribune went to press Monday, school administrators had not reached a decision on whether school would be dismissed Wednesday, but Goodheart said any student or teacher who wanted to attend the funeral would be able to do so. "We’re a small community and everyone knows everyone." There are about 90 students in grades K-6 at the school.
Tanner’s death has been ruled an unintentional farming accident, the Barton County Sheriff’s Office announced. Deputies were dispatched to the rural Olmitz farm in the 700 block of NW 100 Ave. at 3:39 p.m. Saturday.
The preliminary investigation showed Tanner’s father was feeding cattle and did not see him approach the equipment. The boy was crushed when the tractor moved forward.
He was pronounced dead at the scene by Barton County Coroner Dr. E.L. Jones.