Kentucky

Mower blade cuts through wall in Pike County

The Pike County judge-executive has ordered county-owned lawn mowers parked indefinitely after a 12-pound blade flew off a mowing deck and crashed into a Shelbiana resident's home Wednesday.

Valerie Keene, 47, said the mower blade flew 500 feet before cutting through the outside wall of her house and an inside wall, coming to rest in the room where her 16-month-old daughter was sleeping.

"We just basically heard a loud boom, and it sounded like the house was shaking," Keene said.

Keene said she could not explain how the blade had enough force to cut through the inner wall just come to rest in the nursery without striking anything else.

"We feel that the Lord's hand stopped it there to keep (our daughter) from getting hurt or killed," she said.

Keene lives in the home on Greasy Creek Road with her husband, daughter and 30-year-old son.

Brandon Roberts, media relations specialist to Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford, said the mowers "will be parked until judge Rutherford says otherwise."

The mower in question had recently been refurbished, Roberts said. He said all the county's mowers will be inspected by several organizations, including the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the University of Kentucky, Kentucky State Police and the mower's manufacturer.

The county is considering "doing away with that type of mower altogether" and going back to sickle-bar mowers, Roberts said.

Roberts said the blade traveled over a trailer and behind another home before crashing into Keene's house. Keene said the blade sliced through an outside shutter, vinyl siding, three-quarter-inch tongue-and-groove plywood, insulation and drywall to get inside the home.

After seeing the blade on the floor, Keene's husband, James "Bo" Keene, ran outside, flagged down the mower and told the operator what happened, she said.

Valerie Keene said she hopes the mowers don't see use again.

"They don't ever need to be back on the road," she said.

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