SACKETS HARBOR — A 15-year-old who was airlifted to Syracuse with a fractured femur and broken kneecap is supposed to check out of the hospital just two days after the accident, his family reports.
Jack R. Augliano, who lives on County Road 66 in the town of Hounsfield, was mowing his lawn Thursday afternoon. He took notice of the 15-year-old who was out riding his dirt bike around the neighbor’s farm. Mr. Augliano has known the teenager since he was 5, and he knew how experienced he was with dirt bikes. The teen has been riding different machines for over a decade, further proving what was about to happen to be an unavoidable accident.
Mr. Augliano was on his tractor, towing a mower and running alongside a cornfield on the neighbor’s property like he always has. As he mowed east, along the field and toward the road, the teenager was driving south parallel with the road, both heading toward the corner.
“The corn is high enough so I can’t see,” Mr. Augliano said. “And he couldn’t see.”
The tractor and dirt bike converged at the corner and made impact, the teenager ejecting from his machine, landing on the hood of the tractor and then falling to the ground with his head inches from the mower blades.
“By the time I saw him, he was on the hood of the tractor,” Mr. Augliano said. “There wasn’t really anything anybody could have done, short of me not being there or him not being there.”
Mr. Augliano said he shut the mower off as quickly as he could, which proved fast enough as the teenager didn’t get injured by the blades. He was wearing a helmet — “thank God,” his grandmother, Rhonda Knowlton, would say while she stood at the scene — but his right leg suffered the blow when he crashed into the tractor.
Mr. Augliano said he knows first aid, so he called the teenager’s grandmother — who owns the property — and ran to his truck to get his kit once the kid was stable enough.
“My initial reaction was it was serious, but it wasn’t life or death,” he said. “I just wanted to talk to either his mother or his grandparents.”
Mr. Augliano said he got back and used gauze to apply pressure to curb the bleeding on his leg, knowing not to move it. The teenager’s grandparents got there and Mr. Augliano called 911.
It was about 1 p.m. when state police arrived, joined shortly after by the Sackets Harbor Fire Department, EMS and Guilfoyle Ambulance Service. Meanwhile, even though he was not at fault, the teenage was apologizing to Mr. Augliano.
“He was worried about his bike, he was worried about my tractor, he was worried about me, and he was worried about working,” he said. “All the things that a good kid would worry about. He wasn’t concerned about himself.”
While being treated at the scene, Mr. Augliano said first responders were careful not to move his leg. After about 20 minutes, a helicopter landed in a field across the road, a ride to take him to Upstate Medical University, Syracuse.
Before that could happen, first responders had to carefully straighten his right leg — which had a fractured femur and broken kneecap — so he could be placed on a stretcher.
“They gave him a dose of antibiotics and two pain medications because they knew how painful it was going to be when they moved him,” Mr. Augliano said.
The 15-year-old was moved to the helicopter and taken to the hospital, where his mother, who was at work at the time of the crash, would meet him. The teenager had surgery that day, where a rod was placed in his femur and plates and screws in his knee. The surgery was successful, and he was later transferred to Upstate Golisano Children’s Center.
“I know it was bad, but it could have been a lot worse,” he said. “There was nothing I could have done. It went through my mind 100 different times. There was not a single thing, other than not being there, that I could have done.”
It appears the teenager will be back home by this weekend, and Mr. Augliano said he wanted to pass on a message from his mother.
“She said the first responders, LifeNet helicopter, Upstate University Hospital and Golisano Children’s Center have been absolutely outstanding,” he said. “She was just ecstatic with the treatment from the first responders.”