ST. CLOUD (AP) -- A Clay County commissioner who was stuck between a tree and the hitch of his tractor has a calm and collected teenage hunter to thank for his survival.
Ben Brunsvold, 61, had a compound fracture and was bleeding Nov. 9 when he began to yell for help.
Anthony Urbanski, 17, heard Brunsvold's yells, descended from his deer stand and negotiated through a mile of brush in an area 20 miles north of Park Rapids near Itasca State Park. He sawed off the tree that Brunsvold was trapped against, ran two-fifths of a mile to a dirt road where he could flag down vehicles, and directed emergency vehicles to Brunsvold.
"Anthony's cool and smart and had the courage to do something where nine out of 10 adults would probably have fainted," said Brunsvold, who lives in Moorhead and was working on his property near the state park.
Brunsvold became pinned when his tractor ran out of gas and he noticed the battery was low. He gave the tractor a jumpstart with his pickup but forgot to make sure the tractor was in neutral. It was in reverse, and when Brunsvold ran to switch off the ignition, the drawbar pinched his leg against the tree.
He called 911 on his cell phone, then began yelling for help.
Urbanski, who is from Avon, was 14 feet off the ground in his deer stand when he heard the yells. He raced as fast as he could across the rugged terrain and in 15 minutes he had found Brunsvold.
Following the trapped man's instructions, Urbanski started Brunsvold's chainsaw and cut the 4-inch-diameter tree down.
"He had to be really careful to cut it down without cutting my foot," Brunsvold said. "At that point, I knew for sure that I was going to be able to go to the hospital."
About one hour had elapsed since the accident when a Park Rapids ambulance and some conservation park rangers arrived. Brunsvold was taken to MeritCare Hospital in Fargo. He had surgery that day and the next.
"It's going be OK," said Brunsvold, who won't be able to put weight on his right foot for four to six months. "I'll be able to walk again."
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