Volunteer dies during preparation for John Deere Classic

Volunteer dies during preparation for John Deere Classic

PGA Tour

Volunteer dies during preparation for John Deere Classic

A 68-year-old volunteer for the John Deere Classic died Friday in an accident while helping prepare the tournament site for next week’s PGA Tour event.

Charles “Chuck” Austin of Rock Island, Ill., a longtime volunteer for the event, died from injuries suffered in the accident at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill., tournament officials said.

According to the Quad-City Times, Austin was driving a four-wheel John Deere Gator when the accident occurred.

“It is our belief that he was under the impression that the vehicle was in reverse when in fact it was in forward or drive,” Rock Island County Coroner Brian Gustafson told the Times. “When he hit the gas it lurched and went up under a parked refrigerated semitrailer.””

Austin was pronounced dead at 12:50 p.m. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

“Chuck was a very special member of our volunteer force,” Tournament Director Clair Peterson said. “On behalf of Chuck’s 1,750 fellow volunteers, title sponsor John Deere, the tournament staff, the players, and the PGA Tour, I want to express our deepest sympathies to Chuck’s wife, Ann, and all of his loved ones.”

No other details were given because an investigation is still ongoing by the Silvis Police Department.

According to the Times, Austin was a math teacher at Rock Island High School for 31 years. He also served on the Rock Island City Council from 2004 until this year. He was a 27-year volunteer for the John Deere Classic.

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