Family of landscaper who died on the job seeks answers

By Mary Elizabeth Williams-Villano

The man was pinned under a riding mower.

It happens all too often, unfortunately: a landscaper drowns after flipping a riding mower into a pond, and his stunned, grieving family looks for answers.

A story aired on WAVE3 News, Prospect, Kentucky, and posted on the station’s website says that Alejandro Avila had been operating a lawn mower in the Cardinal Harbour subdivision in Prospect when he suddenly lost control of it. The mower flipped and went into a pond. Witnesses told police they found Avila, 46, pinned underneath the mower in a few inches of water.

The Shelbyville resident left behind a wife, four children, his mother, siblings and aunts and uncles.

His wife of 27 years, Angelica Ramirez, told the station’s reporter that her husband was a hard worker but also enjoyed his off time, spent eating meals with his family, traveling or planting flowers.

Ramirez says that 20 years ago, Avila moved the entire family to Shelbyville from Central Mexico. “He always tried to give us the best and make sure we didn’t need anything.” He had been the family’s sole provider.

She added that Avila spent many seasons working in landscaping, and hearing that he had died the way he did was shocking. “I never thought he would flip over in the same machine he was cutting the grass with,” she told the reporter.

Ramirez says she wants to know why this happened. “I don’t want this to just be let go because it wasn’t an animal that died.”

The accident happened during Avila’s first month working for Al’s Complete Lawn Care. The company’s legal representatives say they are investigating, trying to determine just how and why Avila lost control of the lawnmower.

The Shelby County Coroner’s office told the reporter that Avila’s autopsy will take several weeks. It is still waiting for a toxicology report.

“He was a great person and died fighting for his family,” Ramirez says.