Man hurt in Chelmsford snow-removal incident remains hospitalized

By AARON CURTIS | | Lowell Sun
PUBLISHED: December 21, 2020 at 1:38 p.m. | UPDATED: December 21, 2020 at 8:28 p.m.
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CHELMSFORD — The man seriously injured Saturday in an incident involving a small tractor-like piece of snow removal equipment remained hospitalized Monday, a spokesman for Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said.

The man, who was not immediately identified by police, is employed by Romero’s Landscaping in Chelmsford, according to a Chelmsford Police Department press release.

Police said emergency responders were called to the alley behind a multi-unit commercial building at 2 Alpine Lane around 8:50 a.m. after receiving a call from a woman who said she heard a man yelling for help.

Police and firefighters found the man pinned between one of the arms of a skid-steer loader and one of its tires, police said. Chelmsford Fire Chief Gary Ryan stated in an email on Saturday the man was unresponsive when they found him.

“The patient was extricated from the machine and treated for serious trauma injuries,” Ryan said in the Saturday email. “The patient has been transported to a trauma hospital and no updates on his condition are available.”

Hours after the incident, Ryan took the time to thank Christopher Ferreira, of Christopher’s Towing, based in Chelmsford, for being on the spot to help free the victim from the loader.

“Right time, right place,” Ferreira said when reflecting on the incident on Sunday afternoon.

According to Ferreira, he was out with his two daughters when they drove up to the heavy emergency response on Alpine Street. Ferreira thought someone was possibly receiving medical aid inside the loader, but one of his daughters told him she saw someone who might be trapped.

Ferreira jumped out of his truck and made his way over to the scene where he witnessed the severity of the incident. According to Ferreira, he has knowledge and experience with operating the skid-steer loader involved. Explaining his knowledge of the loader to police and firefighters on scene, Ferreira was given a green light by the emergency responders to operate the loader, at which time he successfully freed the man.

“The fire department did a tremendous job from the time I got him out,” Ferreira said. “They started working on this guy, and got his pulse back.”

Ferreira expressed gratitude to emergency crews on scene for trusting him and giving him an opportunity to help out.

“I wish I could have done more for the guy and his family,” he said.

Police said the injured man was taken to Lowell General Hospital by Trinity EMS with the assistance of Lowell General Hospital Advanced Life Support Paramedics. From there he was flown by medical helicopter to Tufts Medical Center in Boston.

Police announced on Saturday that a preliminary investigation of the incident suggested the man was operating the skid-steer loader by himself, with no other workers on site. Police also said Saturday a preliminary investigation suggested the incident was an accident.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration responded to the scene to assist police with the investigation.