(WA) CdA man wounded in hunting accident


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Drizzt
May 1, 2003, 05:37 PM
Spokesman Review (Spokane, WA)

April 29, 2003 Tuesday Idaho Edition

SECTION: HANDLE; Pg.B1

LENGTH: 961 words

HEADLINE: CdA man wounded in hunting accident Both hunting wild turkeys in steep, brushy terrain near Harrison;


BYLINE: Kevin Taylor, Staff writer

BODY:
''I'm 218 pounds and it slammed me to the ground like nothing."

Greg Adair, a Coeur d'Alene concrete finisher, was describing Monday the sensation of being hit by a spray of shotgun pellets fired from 161 feet away.

He was wounded in a hunting accident north of Harrison on Saturday morning by a blast from a 12-gauge single-barreled shotgun fired by Kootenai County deputy prosecutor Art Verharen, authorities said.

''We were apparently chasing the same turkey around the hillside. I had no knowledge of him being around," Adair said.

Adair and a friend, Darwin Nicklas, were hunting wild turkeys in steep, brushy terrain off of Burma Road in the Carlin Bay area, as was Verharen, apparently hunting alone.

County Prosecutor Bill Douglas said Monday that Verharen declined interview requests and has been given the week off.

In a statement, Douglas said Verharen ''is devastated by this incident and is in shock."

Both Douglas and Adair noted that Verharen visited the shooting victim in the hospital. ''He apologized and said he was sorry and that he didn't know I was there. He really seemed sincere," Adair said.

The county prosecutes state Fish and Game violations, Douglas noted, and to avoid a conflict he has arranged for Benewah County Prosecutor Doug Payne to review the final report from the investigation.

Kootenai County Sheriff's Department Detective Ken Johnston is the lead investigator and was conducting follow-up interviews on Monday.

''I'm as sure as can be that it was an accident," said Adair, who was home Monday after undergoing surgery Saturday at Kootenai Medical Center to have nearly two dozen of the teflon-coated pellets removed from his body.

He and his partner were in full camouflage and were moving slowly and quietly as they stalked two turkeys, which had already skittered away from them several times that morning.

He suspects that he crept into Verharen's line of fire - on the far side of the turkey from Verharen - just as Verharen pulled the trigger.

''Some people say 'How can you mistake a person for a turkey?' Well, when you shoot at a turkey, you aim for the head," Adair said. He said Verharen may have been so intent looking for the red color of the turkey's head that, moving slowly and in full cammo, Adair may have been invisible as he moved across the ridge. The terrain was so steep, he said, that he was unable to see where Verharen was.

''I'm not excusing it - it shouldn't have happened - but I'm thinking he had tunnel vision and was focused on that turkey. I could've stepped right into his line of fire. It all happened in split seconds," Adair said.

He said he heard the sound of the gun just as he was slammed to the ground as the shotgun pellets smacked into him from his knees to his ears.

Adair said medical personnel found 150 pellet holes in his clothing, 50 hit his skin and about half of those went in deep enough that they needed to be dug out.

There are still pellets in both hands, he said. He is to see a hand
specialist before removal is attempted. Doctors also left one pellet embedded in his jaw, noting it was too close to a nerve to safely remove. That pellet had pierced through his ear before landing in his jaw. Another, he discovered when shaving on Monday, went through his mustache and his lip before shattering a tooth.

''I was laying on the ground in a lot of pain," he said. ''I didn't know I was shot in the lips and mouth. I thought all that blood was coming from my head," Adair said. ''I thought I was dying."

He said he feels lucky he was not any closer to the blast and that he was wearing layers of clothing. The pellets that entered his body were in his face or in his legs, protected only by cotton pants.

His torso, Adair said, was protected by rain gear with a liner, a heavy sweat shirt and a T-shirt. ''I'd be dead right now if I only had a T-shirt on. I thank my lucky stars," he said.

As he fell, he yelled out that he'd been shot. Then he was engulfed by the wave of pain and blood. He learned from his partner that Verharen came tearing up the hill and then ran about three-quarters of a mile down the logging road to his car, where he called for help on a cell phone.

As the minutes ticked by, Adair said, his friend became increasingly nervous that Verharen just took off.

''He was freaking out. I thought I was dying, and I told him to tell my wife that I loved her. 'You better tell her,' I said. All I knew is there was a lot of blood coming out of my mouth. I figured I was a goner," Adair said. ''If I want to live, I was thinking to myself, I've got to slow my breathing down. I've got to get up and get to the road if I want to live," he said.

Adair said Nicklas was able to help him get to his feet, and the two began hobbling off the ridge. Just as they came to an especially steep bank above a creek, Verharen and Clint Lovell of Post Falls, another hunter who had heard the commotion, came running back up. The two men linked arms and carried Adair down as far as the creek when the first emergency crews arrived.

Soon, Adair was strapped to a gurney, winched up the far bank of the creek and placed in an ambulance.

''I got holes all over me," Adair said on Monday. ''My legs are full of
holes, and I got bruises from my knees to my ears."

He needs strong hands in his job as a concrete finisher, he said, and has no idea how long he'll be unable to work.

''There's unfinished business to do. I got shot up pretty good,"Adair said. ''But what I feel lucky about is if he had been any closer, I'd be dead."

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Legionnaire
May 2, 2003, 07:36 AM
''We were apparently chasing the same turkey around the hillside. I had no knowledge of him being around," Adair said. And that, my friends, is why we teach students in our Hunter Education classes never to stalk turkey.

All together now, "Rule #4: Be sure of your target and what is beyond it." Very good. Class dismissed.

dongun
May 2, 2003, 07:24 PM
Scares the orange vest out of me.

Drizzt
May 13, 2003, 08:50 PM
The Associated Press State & Local Wire

May 13, 2003, Tuesday, BC cycle

2:39 PM Eastern Time

SECTION: State and Regional

LENGTH: 221 words

HEADLINE: Deputy prosecutor faces charge in accidental shooting

DATELINE: COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho

BODY:
A Kootenai County deputy prosecutor will be cited for negligent discharge of a firearm for a hunting accident that peppered a Coeur d'Alene man with shotgun pellets, a prosecutor said.

Benewah County Prosecutor Doug Payne on Monday announced the misdemeanor charge against Art Verharen.

Kootenai County Prosecutor Bill Douglas had asked Payne to review police reports into the shooting to avoid a potential conflict in his office.

Neither Douglas nor Verharen immediately returned calls for comment Tuesday.

Payne will prosecute the case in Kootenai County courts.

Early on the morning of April 26, Verharen was hunting for wild turkey in the Carlin Bay area. Greg Adair, a Coeur d'Alene concrete finisher, was out doing the same thing with a friend.

Adair said he was in full camouflage and moving slowly toward a bird when he was slammed to the ground by a shotgun blast fired from 161 feet away, according to measurements by detectives. Adair said he believes that neither hunter knew the other was there.

Payne said his investigation concluded that Verharen failed to use due caution, leading to the charge.

Adair was hit by about 150 shotgun pellets from his knees to his ears, with 56 penetrating his skin. He has had two surgeries to remove pellets. A third surgery is scheduled for Thursday.

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