Bodden Town man Louis Rhoden, 70, died Monday evening after being pinned between his truck and a palm tree in his yard.
A neighbor on Valencia Drive, off Anton Bodden Drive, where Mr. Rhoden lived, alerted 911 after finding Mr. Rhoden unresponsive.
Mr. Rhoden reportedly had just stepped out of his vehicle when it shifted into gear and rolled forward, pinning him against the tree. No one was behind the wheel of the truck when the accident occurred, police said.
Karlene Rhoden Williams, Mr. Rhoden’s niece, told the Cayman Compass that her uncle was at home by himself when the accident happened.
Mr. Rhoden’s wife, Doreen, who had left the house a short time before the accident, was too distraught to speak about what happened, Ms. Williams said.
“We are still speculating because no one was at home with him at the time, so we cannot actually say what happened,” Ms. Williams said.
She said they suspect he may have left the open-back pickup truck running and it jumped into gear. He must have tried to run to shut it off because the truck was heading toward the porch, she said.
“I was told my uncle had went fishing to catch sprats and the accident happened after he had returned home,” Ms. Williams said.
A neighbor heard Mr. Rhoden’s truck making a strange noise and when he went over to tell him about it, he found Mr. Rhoden pinned between the truck and the tree.
The neighbor ran for help and called Emergency Services.
Mr. Rhoden was taken to the Cayman Islands Hospital, where he was pronounced dead around 6:45 p.m.
“My uncle was a respectable man and great father who loved to fish. He worked for the Public Works Department for a number of years and helped with many projects in the community,” Ms. Williams said.
Former co-workers at the Public Works Department were shocked by the news about their former colleague.
“Louis Rhoden was the best kind of person and the best kind of employee. Actually, a model employee,” said Max Jones, the department’s director. “He was hard working, very skilled at his trade, but above all, totally dependable. You could not meet a nicer person.
“He was a most honorable man with a wonderful sense of humor and always with a twinkle in his eye. We all considered him more of a friend than a co-worker. He will be hugely missed by all those who worked with him at PWD.”
Mr. Rhoden started work with the department building section in 1979 and retired in 2007 after 28 years of service. He started worked at the Public Works Department as a mason and was promoted to foreman in 1998.
His earlier work in Cayman in the late ‘70s was as a mason helping to build the old middle school in George Town, Mr. Jones said.
Ronnie Harvey, a former co-worker of Mr. Rhoden’s, said she had worked with him for 23 years. “He was a very good person and will be greatly missed.”