Greenwood’s acting mayor is recovering after a car accident Monday, March 24.
Councilman Jim Gossett, 66, took over mayoral duties in January after former Mayor Del Gabbard resigned. On Monday, Gossett was involved in a car accident along Arkansas 10 near Booneville in which he crashed into a culvert, said his son, Tim Gossett.
Jim Gossett was taken to a hospital in Fort Smith, where he was placed on a ventilator. He’s since been taken off the ventilator, but he will have to undergo back surgery on March 31, Tim Gossett said.
"That’s the major step. Once that’s complete he can focus on recovery," he said.
When Jim Gossett was admitted to the hospital, he was having difficulty breathing and his heart was beating rapidly. Doctors suspect that he suffered from an undiagnosed heart condition causing his pulse suddenly to race, causing him to briefly lose consciousness, Tim Gossett said.
"We didn’t know what was going on, but the doctors think that’s what caused it," he said.
Jim Gossett is currently able to speak and seems to be in good spirits, but he must remain stationary until his surgery.
"He’s going to be here for a little bit, so we try to keep him comfortable and stay relaxed," Tim Gossett said.
Tim Gossett said the family has received an outpouring of support from members of the community in and around Greenwood.
"We appreciate that," he said. "Every phone call, text, prayer — it helps."
City Clerk Sharla Derry has taken over mayoral duties in Jim Gossett’s absence. Derry is expected to fill those duties until he returns to work or a new mayor is elected in May.