A regular summertime chore turned into a bizarre tragedy late Sunday afternoon for a longtime fixture in the Danville school system: Jim Trachsel was gunned down while mowing his lawn, and a next-door neighbor, Jack A. Caldwell Sr., has been charged with murder.
About 5 p.m. Trachsel was on a riding lawnmower outside his home at 451-H Boone Trail when he was shot several times. Trachsel, who had served for 13 years as principal at Jennie Rogers Elementary School until his retirement in 2000, and earlier was an assistant principal at Danville High School, fell to the ground unconscious, said the Danville Police Department.
Trachsel, 63, was taken by Boyle County Emergency Medical Services ambulance to the emergency room at Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center, where he was dead on arrival. Boyle County Coroner Dr. James W. Ramey said he pronounced Trachsel dead at 5:45 p.m.
Trachsel died of "multiple gunshot wounds" to the chest and head, Ramey said. A .22-caliber rifle was used in the shooting, and it was recovered at the scene, said Assistant Danville Police Chief Jay Newell.