SKOWHEGAN — A Massachusetts man who owns Eaton Mountain Ski Area was seriously hurt when a snow-grooming vehicle ran him over Sunday while he was working at the mountain to get ready for the season, police said.

David Beers, 40, and another man were trying to fix a track on the vehicle when it accidentally slipped into gear, crushing Beers underneath the track as the 18,000-pound snow groomer rolled over him, police said.

A LifeFlight helicopter flew Beers to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, said Skowhegan police Officer Herbert Oliver. A hospital official had no information about Beers when contacted Sunday evening.

Rhonda Rugan, who lives on Route 2 near the ski area on Lambert Road, rushed to the mountain after getting a phone call about the accident.

Rugan, 53, said she got to the scene about the same time as police and other emergency respondersd.

While emergency responders treated Beers, Rugan helped console his wife, Donna, their 7-year-old son and another couple who had been working at the mountain, she said.

David Beers was conscious and answering emergency medical technicians’ questions before being loaded onto the helicopter, Rugan said in a phone interview.

He had facial lacerations and a serious injury to at least one leg, according to Rugan, who works as an X-ray technician at a Waterville hospital.

Donna Beers told Rugan that her husband and the other man, an employee at the mountain, had been trying to attach one of the two snowtracks when the accident happened.

The other man was inside the vehicle’s cab and David Beers was standing on the ground nearby directing him, Rugan said she was told.

“The man who was driving the groomer was very upset … they are not sure what happened,” Rugan said.

Rugan said she didn’t know the name of the other man and his wife, who both work for the Beers and were helping out at the mountain Sunday.

The incident has been ruled an accident and the owners would likely handle any further investigation, Oliver said Sunday afternoon.

David and Donna Beers purchased the business three years ago for about $400,000. The business remained closed for two years while the couple made repairs and maintenance upgrades.

Last year, they opened the mountain and a new snow-tubing park after investing about $100,000 to install a new handle-lift, lights for nighttime activities and snowmaking devices.

Rugan said the couple had been working at the mountain this fall to get everything ready for this winter.

They had planned to return home to Massachusetts on Sunday night after finishing up for the week, she said.

“It’s just so sad because they’ve been trying so hard to make (the ski area) into something special,” she said of the accident.

Morning Sentinel Staff Writer David Robinson can be contacted at 861-9287 or at:

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