Local News

Boy Hears Screams, Rescues Injured Farm Worker

Posted November 26, 2007 6:25 p.m. EST

— A Sampson County boy is being hailed as a hero after alerting authorities to a farming accident that critically injured a worker.

Jonathan Pounder had been sent home from school for acting up in class on Nov. 5 when he heard screaming from a nearby field.

"(It was) like someone was getting hurt," Jonathan said.

The 12-year-old tried to convince his mother to find the source of the screams, but she and other adults dismissed him.

"We just thought the donkeys had gotten loose, and one of the workers was screaming for someone else to help him," said Penni McKee, Jonathan's mother. "He was insisting that we had to go down there."

When McKee and her mother went with Jonathan in search of the source of the screams, they found a farm worker dangling from a combine.

"He was hanging from his arms," Jonathan said. "It was gross."

Lalo Rodriguez was knocking a pile of corn off the combine when the rollers pulled his arms into the machine.

A dozen firefighters had to employ two extraction devices to free Rodriguez from the combine. He was airlifted to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, where his right arm had to be amputated at the elbow.

Authorities said Jonathan's quick thinking likely saved Rodriguez's life.

"I think God spoke to him to get him down there," McKee said.

Jonathan disregards the hero talk, saying he just wants to meet Rodriguez after he is released from the hospital.

"I just want to see how he's doing," he said.

The Faith Chapel Church of God in Roseboro is accepting donations for Rodriguez's family, since he is the only provider for his wife and three sons and Christmas is a few weeks off. People can bring donations to any of the church services or mail donations to the church at P.O. Box 1369, Roseboro, NC 28382.

The church's pastor, the Rev. Glenn Morgan, also can be reached at 910-531-4529.