Man trips, suffers head injury on Main Street sidewalk

Paramedics treat man who fell on Main Street last week. Photo by Charles M. Kelly

An elderly man apparently tripped and fell in front of a Main Street shop last Friday, Sept. 1, suffering severe injuries to his head and hands.

Paramedics treated him at the scene and took him to an area hospital.

The man has been identified as Jack Rowan. He told the Sun that he was released from the hospital later that night.

Rowan fell on the brick pavers on the city sidewalk outside the shop.

Barbara Davis, co-owner of Alamitos Antiques, did not see the man fall, but she heard him.

She called 911 and said she spoke with the man to keep his mind occupied as paramedics treated him.

She said he had a gash on his forehead as well as cuts on his hands and forearms. She said the man, a retired firefighter, complained of being light headed. Fortunately, Davis said, an ER doctor was present.

“I never heard anybody hit so hard in my life,” Barbara Davis said. “They need to fix that stupid pavement.”

Barbara Davis said she and her husband have had a lot of people stumble near her shop, but this one was particularly nasty.

David Davis said at one time he painted the brick pavers with black and yellow stripes.

About four months later, the bricks were physically turned over.

“We’ve called maybe eight times, but only after someone has fallen,” David Davis said.

He said paramedics would respond to a trip and fall, but the person who fell would say they were OK.

“Some people were embarrassed,” he said.

Joanne Craig, owner of Joanne’s Antiques,  located just two doors over from the Davis’ shop, said she has seen more than 100 trips on the sidewalk in all the year’s she’s been on Main Street—a total of 21 years.

In related news, District One Councilwoman Ellery Deaton said in the next couple of weeks, a new arborist will walk down Main Street once a week to check the sidewalk.

“One trip and fall is too many,” Deaton said. “The city monitors the sidewalk and pavers closely and will repair immediately any trip and fall hazard that is brought to its attention.”

According to City Clerk Robin Roberts, there have been no complaints filed with the city about trip and fall incidents on Main Street from June through August.

Craig said it is very bad when the berries from the ficus trees drop on the sidewalk, causing pedestrians to slip on the berries.

However, Craig also said she had only called the city twice about the issue.

She said that seniors are not the only ones who fall; children also fall.

Lisa McHenry, owner of knock * knock gifts and toys, said most people who fall stand up and dust themselves off. She said they are mostly embarrassed.

She said seniors seem less likely to absorb falls well.

McHenry said she has encouraged people who have fallen to contact the city. “I admit I haven’t contacted the city,” she said.

“I just wonder if there’s a system in place for maintenance,” McHenry said.

Deaton said the city cleans a different section of the sidewalk every week.

Tom Rowe, outgoing Chamber of Commerce president, said he had not heard any recent complaints from the business community.

Deaton said she knew some people would like to use the trip and fall issue to remove the mature ficus trees from Main Street.

“There is never a perfect tree,” Deaton said.

For example, she said the Chinese elm tree would drop leaves all over Main Street all year long. She said the magnolia tree had large roots and would drop flowers and enormous leaves on the street.

“I’m certainly willing to look at options,” she said.

“Do we want it safe?” Deaton asked. “Yes. Are we making sure it is safe? Every day.”