Friday, January 31, 2014

Accident Report

Forest Supervisor                                                         
Inyo National Forest
873 N. Main Street
Bishop, California  93515

Thomas Locker
Casa Vieja Guard Station
Inyo National Forest

August 9, 1979

Dear Sir,

I am writing in response to your request for additional information in Block 13 of the CA-1 (Federal Employee’s Notice of Traumatic Injury and Claim for Continuation of Pay/Compensation).  I put “bad decisions” as the cause of my accident. You asked for a fuller explanation and I trust the following details will be sufficient.

On the day of the accident, I was providing logistic support to an Environmental Analysis Team analyzing options for cheatgrass reduction in the Red Rock Creek drainage near Jordan Hot Springs.  My assignment was to pack the Team’s supplies and equipment on a mule string.

We arrived at Jordan at about 1500 hours.  My assistant packer, Bill Schofield, and several members of the Team unsaddled the horses and removed the mules’ packs.  We hobbled the animals for the night.  As we planned to continue on to Redrock Meadows the next morning we only took that evening’s supplies from the packs.  After cooking dinner and finishing cleanup, since there had been reports of considerable bear activity in the vicinity, Packer Schofield climbed a nearby tree and looped a rope over a branch.  We hoisted the packs, which contained surveying and scientific equipment as well as food, about 50 feet above the ground.

After this the rest of the party went down to the hot springs.  I remained in camp by myself.  I had planned to finish a book I had brought along.  Unfortunately I had forgotten to take it out of the pack before hoisting.  I knew that the total weight of the packs we had hoisted up was about 400 lbs. and that I could not lower and raise them by myself.  I decided to use one of the mules.

After refastening the hoisting rope with a slip knot, I scooped a few oats into my hand and went towards the pasture.  “Vudu” was the closest mule and I quickly enticed her with reach.  This was probably not the wisest choice as Vudu can often be skittish.

After untying the hobbles, I wrapped the bitter end of the hoisting rope around her chest, tying a loop just behind the forelegs.  I then pulled the slipknot loose.  The packs dropped about two or three feet, taking the slack out of the rope.  The sudden tug and the rattling of cans and equipment spooked Vudu.

She began to run, kicking and bucking until the packs snagged against their supporting branch.  At this point I would say that the mule panicked.  The bucking became extremely violent and the loop I’d tied around her chest slipped back to her belly and rear legs.  The next couple of kicks freed her from the rope and the packs began to fall.

Knowing the value of some of the equipment in the packs, I grabbed the rapidly moving rope, in the process tangling my left foot in the line.

I weigh about 150 lbs, the packs about 400 lbs.  When I realized that I would not be able to stop the packs, I released the rope.   Imagine my surprise at being jerked off the ground by the tangles around my leg.

Needless to say, I proceeded at a rapid rate up towards the supporting branch.  At about 25 feet, I met the packs, which were now proceeding downward at an equally impressive speed. This explains the broken right ankle.  Slowed only slightly by this impact, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the packs hit the ground, leaving me hanging momentarily by my right leg approximately 45 feet in the air.

Unfortunately, when the packs hit the ground, the cord tying them together snapped, freeing all the packs save one.  Now devoid of the weight of most of the packs, only approximately 50 lbs. remained at the other end of the rope. As my weight was now greater, I began a rapid descent back towards the ground.

In about 25 feet, I encountered the remaining pack on its upward journey. This accounts for the broken tooth, several lacerations of my arms and upper body and the partially detached ear.

Here my luck changed slightly. The encounter with the attached pack seemed to slow me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of packs and suffered only three cracked vertebrae.

I am sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the pile of packs, in pain, barely able to move, I lost my composure and presence of mind.  I untangled the rope from around my now-broken ankle and lay there watching the pack begin its journey back down upon me. This explains the fractured skull, minor abrasions and the broken collar bone.

I hope this explanation adequately answers your inquiry.


For further reading on this subject see:

Thursday, January 30, 2014

My Eighth Grade Class - St. Chris

This is my Eighth grade class at St. Christopher School 1963-1964.

Follow this link to Larry Youngblood's Facebook Post:

Top Row: Victoria Maddin, Tom Locker, Susie Trick, Jim Fox, Kathy Stoner, Alice Search, Kathy Moritz, Kathy Muldoon, Monk Moreo, Steve Schwab, Steve R. Smith

Second Row: Matthew Leyes, Stephen Covert, Ed Sabec, Mitchell Potterf, Jim Ewing, Mike Seskevics, Steve G. Smith

Third Row: Ron Thill,  Larry Vance, Jim White, Dick Meyer, David Leppla,  Mike Clark, Craig Puthoff, Larry Youngblood

Bottom Row: Sister Stella, Susan Partlow, Debby Hartman, Jeannie Trick, Belinda Brown, Sherry Hegg, Jackie Follick, Elaine Schieltz, Nanette Landreville, Ellen Conover, Theresa O'Donnell, Debbie Studer

Here are the Facebook comments about this photo:

Susan Partlow Landversicht - Such fun sharing these with my grandchildren here with me today due to school closing.

Michael E. Rado - The good ole days of Catholic school. I don't have any bad memories.

Jeannie Youngblood - What would parents do without grandparents on snow days!! We've put in our share too-----good memories!

Victoria Maddin Stem - I was wondering if anyone still had a class photo....this is so great

Tom Locker - 37 kids.

Marsha Plaut Powers - You are easy to spot...same pretty face!

Tom Locker - Thanks Marsha!

Dave Smith - I recognized a lot of friends!

Connie Strehle - Susie Trick top row third person.

Connie Strehle - I also found Dick Meyer and David L( sp) ? Oh there is Craig Putoff (sp) nan where are you?

Connie Strehle - Oh Nanetta I just found you bottom row 8 in. That picture is fun to look at!

Pam Longacre - Holy sh-- Larry. David looked just like you at this age. That was a Weird feeling.

Susan Tracey - I see you Jim!

Pete Britton - Hard to believe we were ever that young. Wish I could do it all over again.

Larry Youngblood - Connie...David Leppla!

Craig Puthoff - I'm 3rd row down on the right... Next to Larry Youngblood. It's PutHoff. Lolol

Craig Puthoff - Jeez...50 years ago...already. Where does time go?

Jim Fox - I tried to tag Matt Leyes but somehow Facebook translated my typing to some unknown language.

Jim Fox - Is the kid in the upper right corner Steve Smith?

Craig Puthoff - Question: Did any of us have a date/dates together after 8th grade? Me: I had a New Years Eve Party date with Kathy Moritz...about 1970. Nice girl

Craig Puthoff - We had 2 Steve Smith's....Steven R. & Stephen G. That's Steve R.

Jim Fox - Thanks Craig, I knew there were two Steve Smiths and I thought that was one of them.

Susan Partlow Landversicht - Too many of our classmates are gone. Dick Meyer has asked me about arranging a reunion this year for our 50 years. I suggested getting together at the festival. Any interest?

Craig Puthoff - Yes...I'd be interested in doing that...great idea, Dick.

Tom Locker - I think that we've named almost all the photos. Stilll missing top row, #5, the girl between Jim Fox and Alice Search, second row, the boy between Mitchell Potterf and Mike Seskevics and, also on the second row, the last boy on the right, above Larry Youngblood.

Jim Fox - Tom, could the guy above Larry be the other Steve Smith?

Larry Youngblood - I ran into Alice Search back in about '75 when I was teaching at the Hobart Welding School. She was taking Welding for Artists, I think.

Larry Youngblood - Sue...what festival? St. Chris I assume. What time of year would that be? I have not associated myself with St. Chris since the 8th grade.

Craig Puthoff - Yes...that is Steve G. smith. I saw him about a month ago. He lives near Washington, DC.

Tom Locker - Jim Fox - I tagged Steve G. Only two left!

Craig Puthoff - Did you get Victoria Madden? What about Belinda Brown?

Victoria Maddin Stem - I'm the first one on the top left.

Susan Partlow Landversicht - Yes, St Chris' festival. I believe it is held in June. I will call and find out the particulars later this month. Tom, would June be a good month for you to come back to Ohio?

Susan Partlow Landversicht - I believe it is Jim Ewing next to Mike.

Tom Locker - Yes - I can probably make it the last half of June.

Susan Partlow Landversicht - I will post the dates as soon as I find out.

Susan Partlow Landversicht - I know one of the Schwab boys passed, was it Steve?

Susan Partlow Landversicht - Last one -- I believe the missing name is Stonerock, first name may have been Kathy.

Larry Youngblood - Yes, Kathy Stonerock!! I remember, now...

My Fifth Grade Class - St. Chris

This is the Fourth & Fifth grade class at St. Christopher School 1960-1961.  I was in this class, but missed photo day. My Grandfather hurt himself which required a several day hospital stay. We were with him in Boston.  There were 48 kids in this class (47 pictured plus me).

Follow this link to Larry Youngblood's Facebook post:

Top Row: Ellen Conover, Anita Trick, Pat Walter, Mike Hawley, Mike Gaylord, Nanette Landreville, Unknown, Julie Larkin

Second Row: Becky Van Dyke, Jim White, Don Tolle, Steve Kistler, Christine Worman, Mike Clark, Kathy Schwab, Tom Hertlein, Pam Miller, Emily Moreo, Danny Fessler, Mike Geis

Third Row: Patrick Martin, Larry Youngblood, Ron Thill, Belinda Brown, Susan Partlow, Mary Ann Klenke, Josephine Elliott, Tommy Sliger

Fourth Row: Candy Tesno, Maria Korte, Virgina Himes, Kathy Kleinschmidt, Shari Heggs, Steve Covert, Mike Baltis, Joe Clement, Ann Suess, Kathy Yates, Dave Conters, Mike Patterson

Bottom Row: Mrs Boggs, Calvin Hartman, Mike Henderson, James Brown, Mike Johnston, Gus Van Acor, Susie Strukamp, Kenny Roland, Father Edwin Aufderheide

Here are the Facebook comments about this photo:

Jeannie Youngblood - The young man with a bow tie to the right of the weather vane doesn't have a beard, but he does resemble my sweetie!

Jan Williams Mahaffey - Big class!

Victoria Maddin Stem - Picked out Sue and Larry right away. I didn't join them till 7th grade.

Connie Strehle - Where are you Anita?

Anita Trick Moulds - Ok Connie, it's kind of embarrassing that I am not sure, but by process of elimination I think I am on the top row to the right of the diary?? Maybe?? I don't remember seeing this picture before. Crazy that I recognize most everyone in this picture except myself...proof that it's all beginning to slip away! Oh the joys of growing old...

Larry Youngblood - Yes, Anita, that is you to the right of the diary!!! Must admit...had a big crush on you back then!!!

Jan Williams Mahaffey - Did everyone wear a Col. Sanders tie?

Larry Youngblood - Jan, see how most of the girls have some kind of a school uniforn on? The restof the girls must have been rebels! Bowties must have been the thing to do back then. I personally would not be caught dead in one today!

Sue Moorman Vallo Starr - @Jo (Elliott) middle row, third from right?

Emily Moreo Friend - Hated those uniforms. they were hideous.

Emily Moreo Friend - I see Ann Suess, Kathy Kleithschmidt and Danny Fessler not named

Emily Moreo Friend - But this was a double class, I don't remeber if I was 4th or 5th? how strange to not remember this.

Susie Black - I must not have been a rebel because I am styling a bow on my neck. I love those beanies. Hilarious

Tom Locker - Emily, this was your 4th grade year. Larry, Nanette, Ellen, Ron, Sue and a few others were 5th graders. I was in this class but missed picture day.

Susan Partlow Landversicht - You were 4th grade, a year behind me.

Susan Partlow Landversicht - I have often wondered what happen to Julie and Patty Larkin. Anyone know?

Emily Moreo Friend - And I am still lost and behind most of the time.

Susan Partlow Landversicht - Next to Steve Covert I believe is Shari Heggs -- not certain of the spelling.

Tom Locker - I remember something about the Larkins - they had a sister born on February 29, 1960.