A subcontracted worker helping to rebuild South Highway 89 for the Wyoming Department of Transportation remains in critical condition after reportedly having his arm torn off in an incident involving a drill last week.
The accident occurred at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 9 at the construction site just north of Hoback Junction on Highway 89, according to the Teton County Sheriff’s Office.
The 34-year-old was flown to St. John’s Health and then transferred to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, according to the hospital’s public relations department.
Jackson Hole Fire/EMS medics and the sheriff’s office responded to the scene and started first aid before a helicopter rushed the worker to St. John’s.
He is employed by a business that subcontracted with Oftedal Construction, a Casper-based firm that won a WYDOT contract for the highway reconstruction project. Oftedal President Jeff McDonald, reached Thursday, said he did not know which subcontractor employed the man.
“The incident is under investigation and review,” WYDOT spokesperson Stephanie Harsha said. Internal reviews take place for all job incidents, she said.
The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services is also investigating the man’s injury. That agency could not provide more information because the investigation is still underway, according to Tyler Stockton, the department’s communications manager.
No other injuries were reported.
On social media, the man’s family asked for anyone wanting to help to “donate the life-giving gift of blood” at their local blood bank.
“Our deepest thanks to all of the first responders,” the man’s sister, Danielle Kimmet, told the Jackson Hole Daily. “They undoubtedly saved his life in an impossible circumstance.”
The South Highway 89 improvement project is nearing its end after nearly two decades of planning and several years of construction. Once complete, the rebuilt highway will be four lanes wide over the Snake River’s South Park bridge and all the way to the Henry’s Road bridge. Going south toward Hoback Junction, the highway will narrow to three lanes, with two of them designated for northbound traffic.
There will also soon be an elaborate wildlife-crossing network, with fences, dozens of cattle guards, underpasses and retrofitted bridges throughout the entire length of the project area.
— Mike Koshmrl contributed to this story.