An Adair County man was seriously injured last week after the riding lawn mower he was using flipped, leaving him pinned in a ditch for around an hour and a half.
A passerby spotted the overturned mower just off Wheeler Hill Road around 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 3.
The mower was jammed in a ditch at the bottom of an embankment and was nearly impossible to see from the roadway or from his house, which is located near the corner of Wheeler Hill Road and Sparksville Road. A passenger in a vehicle for a local mowing company caught a glimpse of the mower’s tires and the crew stopped to investigate, finding Thomas Tompkins, 68, pinned underneath.
Adair County EMS, Breeding Area Volunteer Fire Department and the Adair County Sheriff’s Office were called to the scene. Breeding fire chief Terry Harvey said emergency personnel had difficulty removing the mower because of its weight and the way it was wedged between two banks. They could not get to the sides of the mower, Harvey said, and a tractor with a loader did not have the reach needed to retrieve the tractor. They tried using air bags but could not get the airbags high enough, he added.
Tompkins’ head and torso were pushed into a drainage line, which kept him from being completely crushed, while crews worked to get him free.
Harvey said local residents came to offer assistance, as well.
“We were making fast decisions,” Harvey said. “Everybody worked well together.”
A tow truck with an extended hoist was called in and they were able to lift the mower straight up, Harvey said. Air Evac landed on the roadway and Tompkins was stabilized and flown from the scene to a Lexington hospital.
Tompkins was semi-conscious when he was loaded onto the helicopter. He was loaded on the helicopter 48 minutes after the original emergency call was made.
Adair County EMS, Breeding fire, and Deputy Sheriff Adam Cravens responded to the scene.