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Rensselaer Falls man hospitalized after industrial accident

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RICHVILLE — An industrial accident Monday morning in the town of DeKalb sent the owner of a sand and gravel company to Upstate Medical University for treatment of what hospital officials called critical injuries.

Ronald J. Stiles, 61, Rensselaer Falls, owner of Process Sand & Gravel, was taken to Upstate, Syracuse, after being trapped in a front loader he was operating when a screening plant collapsed on it.

“He was loading stone and gravel and a piece of equipment that separates stone and sand tipped onto the cabin of the loader and trapped the victim,” Gouverneur Volunteer Fire Chief Steven M. Young said. “He was alert and had difficulty breathing. He took a pretty good hit.”

Jonathan N. Graybill, Richville, was working with Mr. Stiles at the pit.

“I hollered at him, just trying to get some sort of response,” he said. “He didn’t say nothing.”

Randy L. Young, Richville, and an employee of the town of DePeyster, who were on the scene, each operated a front loader to push the screening plant off the excavator’s cab, relieving some of the pressure on Mr. Stiles.

Mr. Graybill said they didn’t want to move him because of possible back injuries, so they waited for the rescue team.

“We’re just glad we could get it done the way we did, together,” Mr. Graybill said.

Firefighters used a hydraulic rescue tool to free Mr. Stiles, who was pinned to the steering wheel of the loader.

Martin A. Deavers, Gouverneur Rescue Squad director of operations, said Mr. Stiles was taken to Hendricks Field airport on Scotch Settlement Road, just a short distance from where the accident happened, and then was flown by LifeNet helicopter to the hospital. Mr. Deavers said Mr. Stiles appeared to have suffered a head injury.

Mr. Graybill contacted Mr. Stiles’s wife, who was in Burlington, Vt., at the time, to inform her of the accident and her husband’s transfer to Upstate.

A hospital supervisor confirmed at 3 p.m. Monday that Mr. Stiles was in critical condition. By 10 p.m., his condition had been upgraded to fair.


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