Nearly 14 months after falling on the stairs in the Brown County Courthouse, 77-year-old Roy Dodds doesn’t want any money from the county. The county’s insurance has covered most of the medical bills he incurred from his back injury.
Dodds does want something, though. Addressing the commissioners court Monday morning, Dodds asked the court to address a problem with the stairwell that he said caused him to fall. County Judge Ray West said the county is moving forward with a solution.
Dodds said he was walking down the stairs from the second floor to the first floor after testifying in 35th District Court as a CASA volunteer, holding onto the bannister on the left side of the stairs.
The bannister ends two steps above the floor, giving Dodds the impression that he was about to step onto the floor instead of the bottom step. Not realizing he had one more step to navigate, Dodds fell onto the floor, and then-courthouse deputy Mike McCoy came over to assist.
Dodds said he managed to get home, but had to be taken to Brownwood Regional Medical Center later in an ambulance because of severe back pain. He ended up having back surgery in San Angelo, followed by several weeks of therapy. He is still under a doctor’s care and uses a cane when he walks.
“Something needs to be done before someone is killed,” Dodds said. “I was nearly killed.”
West said it’s not possible to move the newel post that supports the rail where it ends on the second step from the floor, so extending the rail is out. The only solution, West said, is to have a second newel post installed in front of the first one. The new post will give a visual cue that there is one more step remaining, West said.
“You get to the end of the rail and think you’re at the bottom,” West said. “you take a different stride when you think you are about to step down onto the floor.”
West asked Dodds if he believes the Texas Association of Counties, through which the county is insured, as treated him fairly.
“Yes sir,” Dodds replied.
West said he has requested proposals from two individuals who specialize in constructing items from metal, and he will bring those proposals before the commissioners court.
In other business, commissioners:
• Agreed to leave the burn ban in place.
• Heard an update from Courtney Parrott, family and community health agent, on the Health County Wellness Program. The county finished the 10K challenge with 43 people participating and 37 completing, Parrott said. The county is preparing for its next challenge, Spring Into Motion, and is expecting two teams.
• Awarded a $147,500 bid to U.S. Construction to build new barn in Precinct 3, to replace the barn that burned.
• Approved the hiring of Kirsten Steele as a replacement employee in the district attorney’s office. Steele will work as victims assistance coordinator and discovery technician.
• Approved the hiring of David Becktold as a replacement employee in the treasurer’s office.