A coroner confirmed that a federal prison inmate in Kentucky died this week after a large lawn mower turned over on top of him in a pond.
The casualty has been identified as 55-year-old John Arthur of Pulaski County, then serving a 15-month sentence for disability fraud at the USP McCreary prison in McCreary County. Arthur only reported to the said prison on July 30.
Prison officials said Arthur had been using a zero-turn mower to cut the grass at the facility at the time of the incident. Pulaski County Coroner Clyde Strunk further confirmed that the inmate mowed on an embankment when the mower, unfortunately, flipped over into a pond, trapping the poor Arthur underneath the said machine in the process.
Prison staffers called an ambulance to bring Arthur to Lake Cumberland Regional Medical Center in Somerset as there is no hospital in McCreary County. Strunk went to meet the ambulance at the emergency room where he pronounced Arthur dead there.
Strunk said that Arthur likely died as a result of positional asphyxia, which means he could not breathe because of the position he was in under the mower.
While Strunk ordered an autopsy, the results were not yet available as of Wednesday morning so no official cause of Arthur’s death could be released yet.
The McCreary prison is home to mostly maximum-security inmates but also hosts a small minimum-security camp. Arthur was housed in the latter camp.
It seems somewhat ironic that Arthur was sent to prison for disability fraud died of a freak accident that physically hurt him. He operated heavy equipment and had a tree-trimming business. Arthur applied for federal disability payments in 2005, claiming he was blind and unable to work.
A court record said that Arthur had a surgery that improved his sight but he did not notify Social Security officials. He resumed working but continued to draw disability benefits for himself and his children. There was also an intent to hide his improved state and to commit fraud as his employers wrote checks to his wife to hide the fact that he was capable of working anew.
Federal officials charged that Arthur received 118 disability checks between January 2006 and late 2015.
Arthur and his wife, Sherri, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting receipt of stolen money.
A judge, however, placed Sherri Arthur on probation and ordered the couple to repay $166,583 to the Social Security Administration.
It is not clear, however, if the prison has any accountability for Arthur’s unexpected death.
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