By CARLA KOLBE
For The Recorder
BROADALBIN -- A Broadalbin businessman/town planning board member was killed Monday in a "strange and freak accident" according to Fulton County Sheriff Thomas J. Lorey.
Lauren McMurray, 66, of Hatzenbuhler Road, was killed Monday at about 4:17 p.m. at his place of business, McMurray's Boat Livery, located at 245 Lakeview Road.
According to Lorey, McMurray was operating a zero-turn lawn mower and attempted to mow under the front portion of a camper. The mowers safety bar struck the camper causing the mower to tip backward and pinning him against the camper, the sheriff said.
It appeared the mower then accelerated, wedging McMurray with the roll bar against the camper causing the fatal neck injury.
A neighbor called in the accident. Lorey said the neighbor waved to McMurray, looked away then looked back again to see the accident had already happened.
"It's ironic that a mechanism designed for safety was actually what killed him," Lorey said.
Broadalbin Planing Board Chairman Michael Crispin said, "Lauren was an excellent next door neighbor, a good friend and was a true asset to the planning board."
Crispin went on to explain McMurray's voice on the planning board was quite significant with his knowledge of owning a lakeside property and business, as well as his understanding of the lake.
"This is a big part of our planning. I will miss the guy on so many levels" said Crispin.
McMurray was an active member, always doing his share and supporting the planning board, added Crispin.
"His house is about 150 feet from mine, we could yell to each other -- we knew when the other came home from work. He was a good friend and neighbor, and suddenly he's gone. It's going to take some getting used to" said Crispin.
Crispin believes McMurray's Marina is what is left of the family farm when the Great Sacandaga Lake reservoir was flooded in the 1930's. McMurray took over the family business from his father, Russell, and has continued to run the boat livery.
According to a witness, the livery was filled with summer guests and visitors at the time of the accident.
Broadalbin town Supervisor Joe DiGiacomo agreed that McMurray was an all around good guy, a fine businessman, and great community member.
"I believe his being on the planning board was a way for him to give back to his community" said DiGiacomo. "This was a shock. He will be missed."
Along with police agencies, the Boadalbin-Kenyetto Volunteer Fire Company and Broadalbin Ambulance were on the scene.