Man hurt by parade float sues Bath group

Posted June 22, 2010, at 7:18 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:37 a.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — A St. George man who was struck and injured by a riding lawnmower pulling a float during a parade in Bath three years ago has, by way of his guardians, filed a civil action lawsuit against the organization that ran the event.

The lawsuit filed June 16 in Knox County Superior Court states that Mark J. Shapiro “suffered severe, permanent and disfiguring injuries to his body, including a profound brain injury” that require expensive medical care.

According to the suit, the float in the Maine Heritage Day Parade that caused Shapiro’s injuries on July 1, 2007, was “a riding lawnmower and an attached trailer on which several adults were riding.” The operator lost control of the lawnmower “as it descended a steep grade along the parade route established by the defendant due to the excessive weight being pulled and the inadequate towing and braking capacity of the lawnmower,” according to court documents.

The suit seeks unspecified damages, interest and medical costs from Main Street Bath, the organization that was in charge of the parade, for among other things the “great physical and emotional pain and suffering” that Shapiro “has experienced and will continue to experience.”

Reached by phone at his home Tuesday, Shapiro said he was taking pictures when he saw the runaway riding mower and trailer coming toward him and some children.

“That’s when a tractor and trailer started flipping and I got the kids out of the way so they didn’t get hurt, but I was the target,” he said. “I got thrown through the air and my head hit the curb. I damaged the front end of my brain. I ended up in a coma.”

Shapiro said he was taken to a Boston hospital. His now-wife gave birth to their son while he was hospitalized and the couple had to reschedule their wedding, which had been planned for the next week.

“I still feel I did the right thing that day, saving those kids — not realizing that I was going to be the person to get the damage,” Shapiro said Tuesday.

Shapiro was the new assistant director for marketing and communications for the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath when the accident occurred and was taking photos of the parade for his job that day, he said.

The lawsuit states that Shapiro suffered his injuries “as a direct result and proximate result of the negligence of the defendant, Main Street Bath.”

A call to Main Street Bath on Tuesday was not returned.

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