Neel Road man trapped, injured after mower tips down ditch

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 2, 2013

SALISBURY — A Neel Road man suffered an ankle injury Tuesday after his riding lawn mower overturned, trapping him underneath it and going down into a 10-foot ditch.

Carroll Cornwell, 73, of 450 Neel Road, was dumping yard trimmings into a ditch along the roadside when the mower tipped over. He screamed out for help to his wife, Virginia, who was in the driveway. She called for emergency help.

The incident occurred at 2:15 p.m., just off Heritage Lane. Neighbors say the ground became soft and the mower slid down into the ditch. The neighbors estimate Cornwell was trapped about 20 minutes.

Cornwell’s granddaughter called him on the phone just before the incident, said neighbor Mildred Smith.

“His first word was ‘hello’ and his second word was ‘help,’” Smith said.

Locke Fire Department stabilized the mower using ropes tied to an emergency truck and placed Cornwell onto a stretcher.

“We stabilized it to keep it from going further on him,” said Locke Fire Chief Rusty Alexander.

Alexander said Cornwell was conscious the whole time.

Rescuers dug into the ground around the mower so Cornwell could slide his legs out from under the mower. He was lifted onto a stretcher and carried by rescue workers to the roadway. He was taken by ambulance to Novant Health Rowan Medical Center. Rowan Rescue Squad and Rowan EMS responded.