A landscaper working on a Montauk property was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital Monday in critical but stable condition after the large riding mower he was operating flipped over and landed on top of him. The victim had no pulse when police and emergency medical personnel arrived, but was revived by the first responders.
A three-man crew from Warren's Nursery was working at the northwest corner of South Ferncroft Place and West Lake Drive in Montauk a little after 11 a.m. Monday with two riding mowers, a small, lighter one, and an older, industrial-size unit with a circular blade about four feet wide.
The triangular-shaped property slopes sharply down toward West Lake Drive.
"We told him not to take the big one, just use the little one," one of the injured man's co-workers, who identified himself as Edgar, said in Spanish, while East Hampton Town police were sealing off the area. The injured man, identified by police as Baldomero Villa Vicenzio, 36, of Riverhead, did not listen, Edgar said. "He insisted. He wanted to finish the job."
According to the co-worker, Mr. Villa Vicenzio drove the mower onto the sloping part of the property while the other two went to the east side of a fence that separates the rest of the property at 8 Ferncroft Place from West Lake Drive.
His co-worker reported hearing the sound of the mower as it landed on top of Mr. Villa Vicenzio. According to police, passing motorists ran to assist the men in moving the mower off of the victim.
The Montauk Fire Department ambulance was part of a funeral procession for Tyler Valcich, a department member, that was just getting under way at St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church, so an Amagansett ambulance in Montauk to provide emergency coverage during the funeral was dispatched to the scene.
After being revived, the landscaper was rushed by ambulance to the Hither Hills west overlook on Montauk Highway, where a helicopter transported him to Stony Brook University Hospital.
Detectives were investigating the scene of the accident Monday. The mower was impounded by East Hampton Town Police police to be given a safety inspection. West Lake Drive was reopened at 1:30 p.m.
An earlier version of this story misidentified Baldomero Villa Vincenzo as Juan Baldomero. East Hampton Town police said in a statement Tuesday that motorists who witnessed the accident lifted the mower off Mr. Villa Vincenzo before emergency personnel arrived.