Man sues firm, Milford over accident
MILFORD - Two years ago Raymond Johnson was driving down Elm Street near the Dunkin' Donuts when an excavator's bucket swung toward his SUV, slammed into his windshield and roof, and came inches away from decapitating him. Johnson, 66, of Milford, filed suit in Hillsborough County Superior Court last month, claiming that Park Construction Corp. of Fitzwilliam and the town of Milford failed to properly "train, supervise and otherwise control" their employees. The accident occurred Aug. 24, 2006, and, according to court papers, a Milford officer waved Johnson through the construction site while the operator of the excavator was unloading dirt into a dump truck. "As Ray continued into the construction site, he glanced to his left and saw the bucket from the excavator truck veering down upon him," said court papers. "Instinctively he ducked. As Ray crouched down, the bucket crashed into his Chevy Suburban. The excavator's bucket lifted the SUV off the ground and sheared off the roof. As the bucket sheared off the roof, it grazed Ray's back. It then dropped the SUV onto the ground," the papers said. In an Aug. 31, 2006, article about the accident in The Cabinet, then-Fire Chief Richard Pauley said Johnson "spotted it (the bucket) a split second before it happened and ducked" before the bucket caved in the roof. The lawsuit stated that Johnson suffered a head laceration that took sutures to close, ongoing chest pain, pains in his hip and lower abdomen and had to have physical therapy for back pain due to a compression fracture. Johnson is asking for damages for physical and mental injury and suffering and "extensive economic losses." The excavator was operated by Roland Lunderville, 46, of Manchester. Heavy-equipment operators were fixing the road as part of the town's water main replacement program. At least one Milford police officer was directing traffic, and state police investigated the accident. Town officials said this week they would not comment on pending legal cases.