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'Tragic accident': Tractor runs over and kills woman sleeping on California beach

NBC News logo NBC News 9/29/2020 Tim Stelloh
a couple of people that are standing in the sand on a beach © Provided by NBC News

A tractor involved in a dredging project drove over a woman lying on a Southern California beach and killed her, authorities said Monday.

The woman hasn’t been identified and a police spokesman in Oceanside, where the incident occurred, told NBC San Diego that the death was a “very tragic accident.”

The spokesman, Lt. Tom Bussey, said in a statement that the accident occurred Monday morning at a beach near Oceanside Harbor, north of San Diego. The woman was asleep on the beach, the statement said.

A local surfer, Jay Burneo, told NBC San Diego that he’d earlier seen the woman — who Bussey said was in her 40s or 50s — leaning against a wall as if she was about to pass out.

When Burneo asked lifeguards to check on her, he told the station, “she seemed to say, ‘I’m okay.’”

Bussey told NBC San Diego that work crews were in the process of completing a routine dredging project that occurs every couple of years. The driver was backing up into a safety zone and didn’t see the woman when he ran her over, Bussey told the station.

The company behind the project, Manson Construction, said in a statement that it is cooperating with local police.

"All of us are devastated," the company's president, John Holmes, said in the statement. "We know, too, that her family and loving friends must also be devastated. And to them, I want to express my sincerest and deepest sorrow that this tragedy occurred."

In the statement, Bussey said drugs or alcohol didn't appear to have played a role in the accident.

The station reported that the tractor weighs about 23,000 pounds.

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