Weather Forecast


Team response saves victim's arm from salt spreader

Woodbury Public Safety works to disassemble a salt spreader that broke a victim's arm last Friday. (Submitted photo)1 / 3
2 / 3
3 / 3

At about 2 p.m. Friday, March 18, Woodbury Public Safety responded to a call for a man who had his arm stuck in a conveyer.

Woodbury police, fire, and emergency medical services responded to the scene, in the 5000 block of Radio Drive. When they arrived, 35-year-old Justin Johnson of South St. Paul was standing on a ladder with his arm stuck in the conveyer of a large salt spreader.

The spreader was being cleaned and was being held up by a skid steer at about 6 feet in the air. Fortunately, Johnson had the safety-off button in his pocket so was able to stop the spreader from further pulling him in.

The ground was muddy and unstable so it was determined that the unit could not be lowered safely without further risk of harm to Johnson. Woodbury Public Works was contacted and responded immediately with a front-end loader to stabilize the unit. Twin Cities Transport & Recovery was also called and quickly responded with a wrecker, flatbed and an additional skid steer.

Public Works positioned the loader under the salt spreader to keep it from tipping forward. This provided firefighters with a safe and stable working platform, and firefighters went to work dismantling the salt spreader. They unbolted, pried and cut through this spreader to release Johnson's arm.

Johnson, who had been balancing on a stepstool, was visibly entering the first stages of shock. Woodbury police and EMS personnel held him up and began care while crews worked to release his arm. Once his arm was released, Woodbury paramedics took over and began care for Johnson, who was in shock and clearly had a broken right arm with compression injuries. He was swiftly transported to the hospital. All of this happened within 45 minutes of being dispatched to the call. Johnson has undergone surgery, with more to come. Due to the care he received by all involved, he will hopefully continue to have full use of his arm.

The call to Woodbury Public Safety is proof of the benefits of Woodbury's integrated Public Safety services, according to a press release. It demonstrates the positive relationship and respect shared by not only Public Safety, but with other city departments as well.

While the outlook is good, Johnson faces additional surgeries, medical costs and therapies. The family established a GoFundMe page under Justin Johnson "Justin's Accident Related Expenses" to help offset some of these expenses.