A man who suffered a head injury during a fall outside a Limestone County cotton gin was in stable condition Tuesday night at Huntsville Hospital, an official said.
Billy Sickler, manager of Associated Growers Cooperative cotton gin in the Reed community, said the man, whom he declined to name, is an independent contractor who was intending to haul a load of cotton meal from the gin to Decatur to be sent up North on a barge.
The man, who is in his early 70s, was about half way up the ladder on the front of his trailer when he fell about 15 feet to the ground. During the fall, the man struck his head on a steel or metal guardrail designed to keep drivers from leaving the scales at the gin.
"He fractured his neck and has a possible broken rib, and they stapled his head closed," Sickler said. "Right now, he is up talking and alert and knows what's going on. He is in stable condition and they are gonna monitor him tonight. But, he has bleeding on the brain, and they have been doing CT scans. They will do another in the morning, and if he is the same as today then he won't need surgery. If his condition is any different, they may look at other options."
Sicker said it appeared the man was trying to put a tarp over the trailer portion of his semitractor-trailer when he either slipped or lost his grip on the tarp and fell from the ladder. The man did not fall from the top of the truck as The News Courier initially reported based on emergency radio dispatches.
"He was doing what he was supposed to be doing, he just fell," Sickler said.
The accident was reported about 9:30 a.m. at the gin at Ripley and Brownsferry roads. Air Evac responded and took the man to Huntsville Hospital.