Giant hay bale kills former ELO cellist Mike Edwards
Musician's van collided with bale that tumbled down hill
The Guardian, Monday 6 September 2010
A former member of the rock group Electric Light Orchestra has been killed by a giant hay bale that crashed into his van while he was driving.
Cellist Mike Edwards died instantly when the 300kg bale landed on the front of the white van after it tumbled down a steep hill in Devon, then smashed through a hedge and on to the road.
Police are now investigating whether the fatal accident on Friday afternoon happened after the bale fell from a tractor working on farmland next to the A381 in Halwell, near Totnes.
The musician, 62, is understood to have swerved into another vehicle as his van was struck at around 12.30pm. The second driver was unhurt in the collision.
Sergeant Steve Walker, of the Devon and Cornwall police traffic unit, said: "This was a tragic accident and we have now identified the victim as Michael Edwards, a founder member of ELO.
"We have used photographs and YouTube footage to identify him but we now need help contacting his family for formal identification. We don't believe he was ever married and we have identified an ex-girlfriend, but she is currently abroad."
Officers were hoping to contact a man named David in the Yorkshire area who is believed to be Edward's brother. The musician is understood to have no immediate family, but may have taught cello in Devon.
The police, who are liaising with the Heath and Safety Executive, have asked his students to contact them if they have any further information about his relations.
From 1972 to 1986, ELO enjoyed a string of top 20 hit singles on both sides of the Atlantic, and sold more than 50 million albums worldwide. Edwards left the band after their fourth studio album, Eldorado, which was released in 1974.