Selectboard chair breaks ribs in mower accident

Although Selectboard Chair Jim Faulkner broke three ribs when a large landscaping mower flipped over on him, the accident could have been much worse.

Faulkner spent four nights in the hospital and is still in a good bit of pain, but he’s back at work, presiding at this past Monday’s selectboard meeting, albeit moving a bit carefully and trying not to laugh or cough because of the pain from the broken ribs.

He was working alone when the mower started to slide and he jumped off and into a ditch. The mower flipped over and landed on top of him.

His whole body was covered by the mower, except for his head.

“Fortunately, it didn’t hit me in the head, otherwise it would have been history,” Faulkner said.

It was also fortunate that the mower flipped over, he said, so he didn’t end up on the side of the mower with the spinning blade.

Although he was alive, it was still a scary situation because the sensor that cuts the mower off still had pressure on it because the mower upside down resting on it. So, the mower was still running — until the motor flooded out and quit.

Faulkner’s ordeal was not over however as he was pinned under the mower. At first, he was struggling to breath and it was a while before he could even move. It took a good deal of painful struggling to extricate himself and get back to his home and to the hospital.

“Pain almost becomes immaterial in situations like that. The mind just says, “You have some pain buddy, but there’s a couple of more important things than the pain,” Faulkner said. “It’s an interesting concept.”

The selectboard had planned to hold a meeting last week on May 18 with the energy committee to discuss the design of the new garage, but that meeting was cancelled because of Faulkner’s injuries.

The selectboard meeting with the energy committee is rescheduled for 1 p.m. this Friday (May 27) at the Charlotte Town Hall.

“We’re at a stage now that I think it’s important that we get as much public input as we can,” Faulkner said.

The town has gotten plans and an estimate of about $4 million to build a garage to replace the private garage that burned in December where road commissioner Junior Lewis housed his road equipment.

The members of the selectboard and of the community at the meeting on May 9 when those details were shared were shocked by how high the estimated cost was. Since then, the board has been looking for ways to bring the cost down.

Faulkner agreed the cost was too high but said the board paid for the plans and estimate as a way to start the design process and gauge taxpayer feelings about how the new garage should be build.

“We had to start somewhere, so that’s where we are,” he said.