A local 81-year-old woman found herself trapped under a lawnmower for hours yelling for neighbors who live nearly half-a-mile away, but she said faith and patience paid off.
"I was facing death," Martha Mitchell said. She never thought mowing the yard would be dangerous or nearly deadly. "All you do is let your guard down for a minute and those things happen."
Mitchell said she has always enjoyed mowing her family homestead on North Fork River Road in Washington County, Virginia. She calls it the holy hills of home. But she said everything changed on July 28 around 12:30 p.m. when she was mowing the family cemetery, a path around the property for her golf cart and a patch of grass near the shed.
She says as she was riding up the hill, the lawnmower started to malfunction. "I turned around to back out and it just fell on top of me,” Mitchell said.
Her right leg was pinned between the mower and the rocks. That’s when she said things went from bad to worse. "The tractor was smoking and I was just sure it was going to burst into flames any minute,” Mitchell said. "I said 'oh God, I don’t' want to die like this.'"
That’s when the COPD patient started to yell for help to her neighbors who live about half of a mile away, but she said it seemed hopeless. "A voice spoke to me and said, 'Martha, no one is going to come. No one is going to help you,'” she said.
That’s when she decided she’d have to save herself. "I tried every which way. I was stuck, stuck, stuck," Martha said. Since she couldn’t move the 600-pound mower, she decided to use the handle of a bucket lying nearby to dig a trench to get her leg out. "I kept digging, digging, digging. Five hours I was there. Five hours,” she said.
Finally, she said she was able to crawl into the house, in shock, and got into bed. "Two days I was in pain before I realized I had to get to the hospital,” Mitchell said.
Less than a week later, she’s at home recovering with bruised organs, a hip broken in two places, a crushed ankle and a broken pelvis, but not a broken faith in the Lord. "I’ve had so many miracles in my life. This was the closest I've seen death in my face,” Mitchell said.
She wants her accident to be a lesson to everyone, especially other seniors. "Be more careful, more cautious, because we only go this way one time,” said Mitchell.