Goodland man loses hand in accident
December 12, 2007
GOODLAND TWP. — For the second time in a little more than a month, Goodland Township firefighters and Lapeer EMS were called to the scene of a serious farm accident.
On Friday, Dec. 7, around 2:44 p.m., emergency crews responded to 3570 N. Van Dyke, where a 66-year-old man had gotten his hand caught in a corn picker.
Fire Chief Don Bissett reported that William Spencer, a lifelong farmer, had been working in a nearby field on Martin Rd., when a cornstalk got caught in the machinery.
Bissett said that when Spencer reached in to pull the stalk from the apparatus, his glove became caught, pulling his hand into the machine.
Because he was alone in the field and without the aid of a cell phone, the victim pulled his hand from the machine and drove his tractor to a neighbor's home.
When Spencer realized the neighbor was not home, he got back on the tractor and drove to his own home, where he called another neighbor for assistance.
It was that neighbor who called 911, said Bissett.
"He lost his hand right up to the wrist plate," said Bissett. "He's lucky he didn't bleed to death."
Spencer was transferred by Lapeer EMS to the trauma center at Hurley Medical Center in Flint.
Township resident Ron Cischke, who has known Spencer since they were children, said farming accidents can happen to anyone, regardless of age or experience.
"I think we all go too fast sometimes," said Cischke. "That's how these accidents happen. It just takes a split second."
Cischke said Spencer's neighbors have pulled together to finish picking his corn, and to offer assistance once he returns home.
"I've heard he's going to be released soon, but they couldn't save his hand," said Cischke.
The accident marks the second serious farming-related accident in the township in recent weeks.
On Nov. 5, 12-year-old Kaleb Parsch of Goodland Township was severely injured when he got caught in a power takeoff unit while digging post holes on his family's farm.
The youth has since been released from the hospital and is showing significant progress while recovering from potentially life-threatening injuries.
"We'd been seven years without a real serious farming accident in our township," Bissett said. "Now we've had two bad ones in the past month."