ST. LOUIS – A 14-year-old East Carondelet boy is hospitalized after one of his hands was nearly severed in a horrific forklift accident at a Dupo quarry.
A second 12-year-old boy with him was also hurt.
It all happened Sunday evening at the Falling Springs Quarry just off I-255.
“I`ve never, ever, ever seen anything so horrific in my life,” said Jayme Ruffner about the hand injury suffered by her 14-year-old son Sethen Robertson.
“It`s like living a nightmare and it`s something you can`t wake up from…He said mom I was really scared. I thought I was going to die. He said I didn`t know what was going to happen,” added Jayme.
Jayme spoke exclusively with Fox 2/News 11.
Jayme admits Sethen and a 12-year-old friend trespassed onto the quarry and found a forklift with the keys inside of it.
Jayme says Sethen and his friend drove the forklift around for a couple of hours.
Then, Jayme tells us, things went terribly wrong.
She explained, “He said when he went downhill to park it exactly where he found it he turned the wheel too hard and he said it immediately started to tip.”
Jayme says Sethen pushed his friend out of the forklift in time but Sethen could not jump to safety…the forklift pinning his left hand beneath it.
In tremendous pain, Sethen gave his friend his cell phone to call 911.
It took crews about 45 minutes to an hour to free Sethen.
He was flown to Children`s Hospital where he underwent several hours of surgery.
Jayme tells us doctors were able to re-attach Sethen`s hand but some tendons could not be saved.
She told us, “He has blood flow right now going in and out through his hand. He still cannot feel anything. But they say within the first 24 hours they`ll know rather if it`s going to savable or if they have to take him back into surgery to remove the hand completely.”
“They`re lucky they`re still with us,” said Captain Bruce Fleshren with the St. Clair County Sheriff`s Department.
He tells us charges are possible.
“Someone said kids will be kids. It`s a little beyond that. I mean there was other damage on the property done to a work station area, some other equipment. So, this was beyond just a joyride,” said Fleshren.
Jayme tells us her son has learned some difficult life lessons.
She explained, “Even the littlest things you can lose your life over because you think it`s fun. It`s not fun.”
Sethen remains hospitalized.
The 12-year-old was treated and released for an ankle injury.
Authorities say at this point the priority is Sethen`s health rather than any charges for the incident.
An official at the quarry had no comment except to say that they are praying for the recovery of both children.
Jayme and her family are no strangers to Fox 2/News 11.
They were homeless when they first came to St. Louis last September and were helped by our own Elliott Davis.
There is a GoFundMe account set up for the family.