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'You never know what tomorrow is going to bring'

Burning brush, like he has done so many times before, turned into a scary situation for DeWitt County Sheriff Carl Bowen when his foot got tangled up in a vine, causing him to trip and fall into a fire pit that was about 10 feet deep and 13 feet wide. 

He describes the conditions of Oct. 23 as perfect for burning. “It was a little misty, but the wind was really calm. So, the burn went really well that day.” 

Thinking back to that night Bowen said, “I had that real brief moment where you know you’re in trouble, but it doesn’t hurt yet. That’s when I crawled out of the pit–quickly.”

When he made it out of the pit, Bowen removed his wedding ring because his fingers were starting to swell. He then called 911 for help and then called his neighbor. 

“I have to say my neighbor, Mark Black, literally is probably one of the ones that saved my life that night. Also, I have to acknowledge the Yorktown EMS–they got there in less than 10 minutes from their station.”

Bowen recalls the beginning stages of shock setting in before EMS got there, saying, “My vision started narrowing, voices began sounding weird. Then things started to get splotchy. I don’t even remember leaving the ranch. I remember seeing the helicopter but not actually getting in the helicopter or landing and being taken out of it. 

“There was a point where I remember EMS saying, ‘Let’s try to get him stable before we move’, and the next thing I knew, I was in a hospital room. I knew where I was (BAMC) and why I was there. I was bandaged up pretty well–my side, hands, arms and legs.”

Recently Bowen and a friend went out to the burn pit trying to piece things together from that night. He could see his boot print under the vine where he tripped. 

“I was very fortunate to crawl out. I knew if I slipped back down, I probably would not make it.”

Read the full story in this week's edition of The Cuero Record or the Yorktown News-View. Call 361-275-3464 or 361-564-2242 to subscribe. 

DeWitt County Today

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