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Close Call for Worker At Mount Vernon Estate

Spooked horses throw worker off wagon.

When Richard Gamble went to visit the Mount Vernon Estate Tuesday morning, he was surprised to find that the Mount Vernon traffic circle was closed to cars and a medivac helicopter and Fairfax County fire truck were parked in the circle. Executive Director Jim Rees was standing by, along with many other of his staff.

Gamble said that one of the estate staff said, "The livestock lady sustained a serious back injury when she was either thrown from, or pinned by a wagon, when one of the horses suddenly reared [presumably during the 9 a.m. hour, shortly after the estate opened to the public.]"

At that time, personnel by the main gate were not sure if the accident occurred in the public area of the Pioneer Farm, or, out of sight of guests.

"Although the medivac helicopter was in the middle of the traffic circle grass when I arrived, it appeared [to me] that perhaps a decision was being made to transport the injured woman by ambulance. I believe this may have been the first serious accident at the Estate in many, many years. I hope and pray that the lady's injury is not permanent," said Gamble.

AS IT TURNED OUT, the injury was not life-threatening and the employee was not admitted to Fairfax Hospital after she was seen by doctors. Mount Vernon's Executive Director Jim Rees said, "An employee named Kathleen Kelly did indeed get injured when a couple of our horses were spooked and balked and ended up breaking the tongue on our wagon. She fell off and had contact with the wagon.

"The good news is that even though we're very concerned about it and she was [taken by] helicopter out to the hospital ,the CAT scan has come back totally negative and it looks like she's just bruised and battered, but not injured, which is great news."