Well-known Johnston County man killed in lawnmower accident
Posted August 6, 2013
Updated August 7, 2013
Selma, N.C. — A man died Tuesday evening while cutting grass near a ditch on his property on N.C. Highway 42 in Johnston County, authorities said.
The zero-turn lawnmower rolled over on top of Ray Earp, 64, killing him instantly.
A family member helping in the yard saw the accident and rushed to Earp's aid. Authorities closed N.C. Highway 42 for about two hours while investigating the accident.
Earp was well known in Johnston County. For years, his farm was the venue for the Brookhill Steeple Chase. He was also the fire chief at the Thanksgiving Volunteer Fire Department for 15 years.
Josh Holloman, head of Johnston County EMS, said Earp was instrumental in getting paramedics assigned to the fire department.
"Mr. Earp's dedication and commitment got the resources there and was able to increase the level of service in that area," Holloman said.
Longtime friend Tommy Fitzgerald described Earp as an "absolute, first-class, quintessential gentleman."
"He was a very good man, a step above a good man," Fitzgerald said. "He will be missed greatly in the community."