|The chopper in the field at the site of Jay Vetere's accident.|
On Oct. 13, Jay Vetere of Green River was working chopping corn for silage on his farm. He stopped the machine and with the PTO still engaged got off the tractor and placed the chopper in reverse and cleaned the gathering chain; he placed the chopper in forward position to begin chopping again when he spied one more cornstalk stuck in the chopper and then used his left arm to grab it and when the stalk came out, the two blades grabbed Vetere's shirt and drug his arm into the chopper. Vetere tried to pull his arm out but was unable to; the chopper stopped twice but it overpowered him. His only alternative was to let the arm go through the chopper where it was cut off at the elbow joint. Vetere gripped his left arm with his right arm to help stop the blood flow from the wound. He had to let go of his arm when he attempted to use his cell phone to call 911. Vetere was unable to call out with his cell phone and attempted numerous phone calls. Vetere told himself that he needed to make one more phone call and that's when the call went through to his son Greg.
Greg immediately called 911; he was connected to the Grand County Dispatch who referred the call to the Emery County Dispatch. Sgt. Mitch Vetere, son of Jay Vetere responded to the incident involving his father. He didn't know for sure who it was when the call came in, suspecting it was either of his two brothers Greg or Tim. But, arriving at the scene he discovered it was his father.
Sgt. Vetere said, "When my father was standing by the farm equipment he couldn't get his cell phone to work. It has something to do with the metal equipment interfering with the signal. During the time, he was waiting for help he was able to stop the bleeding except at times when he tried to use the phone and had to let go of his arm. About the time my Dad reached Greg by phone the silage truck had just left the main watermelon stand on Green River Main Street where Greg had been talking to the truck driver, Justin Carter. It usually only takes about 20 minutes to make a round, but he had stopped to push and pack down the pit and that's why it took him so long to get back to where my Dad was. My Dad never complained throughout this whole ordeal. He had a strong will to live. The doctor said if he had passed out then he probably would had bled to death in five minutes. He kept his wits about him and he was able to do whatever he needed to do to get help.
"The surgeons took his arm off about three or four inches above the elbow. He is home now and recovering. He is having quite a bit of trouble with the phantom pain and he said that his arm feels really heavy. But, that's the arm that isn't there. My Dad is a tough old guy and he said death wasn't an option. He said he had to stay around so he could pick watermelons next year. The Green River people have been wonderful helping out and sending cards, flowers and bringing in food.. Several of the Green River farmers also came and finished putting up the silage for us. It's been overwhelming the support we've received. If anything good comes of this, I hope it is in educating people, my Dad always warned us about being careful around the farm equipment. Also, if you're using a cell phone around the farm equipment get out in the open so you can get a signal," said Sgt. Vetere.
Jay Vetere said, "I thank the good Lord that I survived this ordeal. I did get a bit lightheaded, but I never gave up hope as I was making the phone calls. My right arm was swollen up from where I held it over my left arm. But, I did know what to do and have taken some first aid classes. The Lord was with me through the whole thing," said Jay.