Sheridan man injured while logging on Reservation

03.15.2011 Ron Karten People, Public safety, Natural resources

Smoke Signals editor

A Sheridan-area man broke both bones in his lower right leg while logging on the Tribal Reservation and, with the assistance of numerous Tribal employees, was flown to a Salem hospital for treatment on Thursday, March 3.

Contract timber faller Mike Dearth, who was working for Grand Ronde-based Hofenbredl Logging, was bucking - cutting into marketable lengths - a log at approximately 9 a.m. when it rolled against his legs and pinned him against a large standing tree in the Eastside Thin Logging Unit, which is approximately 500 feet south of the end of the 756C road on the Reservation.

Dearth's cutting partners - Cabe Lincoln, Shane Williams and Brad Clemmons - responded quickly and helped Dearth by cutting the log that had pinned him against the tree and administering first aid.

Lincoln then called Hofenbredl Timber Side Rod Darryl Coblentz, who was in Willamina, and 911.

Coblentz met two West Valley ambulances in Willamina and led the ambulances to the end of the 696 road at the trailhead for Coast Creek Trail, which is where Lincoln and Coblentz had agreed to take Dearth because of the steep slopes, felled and bucked timber and deep snow that was between Dearth and the 756C road above them.

Coblentz contacted Tribal member and Hofenbredl Logging owner Larry Hofenbredl, who was on another logging job 45 minutes away. Hofenbredl headed toward the Coast Creek Trailhead and also called Tribal Forester Jason Bernards.

Bernards, along with Tribal Silvicultural Technician Chuck Chapin, who is a certified emergency medical technician, left the Natural Resources office on Hebo Road and headed for the Coast Creek Trail. They notified Tribal member and Tribal Forest Protection Officer Jake McKnight, who was only a short distance away from the accident scene on the 690E road.

McKnight met the ambluance crew of five medics and Coblentz near the trailhead and they proceeded down the trail to the accident. Dearth's partners had cut a rough trail through the brush from where Dearth was down to the Coast Creek Trail, which made it easier for Dearth to be carried out by emergency responders.

Dearth's cutting partners led the medics, Coblentz and McKnight to Dearth, who was about 500 yards up the slope. The medics administered an IV and called LifeFlight, believing Dearth had broken both legs.

In the meantime, Hoftenbredl and his wife, Barbara, as well as Bernards and Chapin arrived at the accident scene.

Bernards headed up the "rough cut" trail and found the medical crew about 200 yards from the Coast Creek Trail. He assisted Larry Hofenbredl with improving the trail in front of those who were carrying Dearth out by removing tripping hazards.

Once on the Coast Creek Trail, the three medics, Lincoln, Williams, Clemmons, the Hofenbredls, McKnight, Chapin and Bernards took turns carrying Dearth down the Coast Creek Trail to the awaiting ambulance, where they arrived at about 12:30 p.m.

Bernards and Chapin led the two ambulances out the Coast Creek Road, followed by McKnight.

Dearth was taken to the Willamina school campus, where an awaiting LifeFlight helicopter flew him to Salem Hospital. He had broken both bones in his lower right leg about three inches above the ankle, and his left leg was badly bruised.

Dearth had surgery that night on his right leg and was released from the hospital on Tuesday, March 8.