Gwinnett Daily Post
Thursday, August 8, 2002

69-year-old man saved by tree crew
By Laura Ingram
Staff Writer

LAWERENCEVILLE – A fallen and severely injured 69-year-old Lawrenceville man spent about 30 minutes trying to wave down help, but all who passed by on the busy road just waved back.

With his wife ill in bed upstairs and no neighbors home on July 30, Dr. Ron Stegall was beginning to feel hopeless until a crew from a tree service pulled into his driveway on Tab Roberts Road to administer first aid. The crew had taken a shortcut to get to a job.

“They were very gracious people. They didn’t have to turn around and come back to help me.” said Stegall, who was released from the hospital Friday and is now home recuperating. He hopes to return soon to teaching at Georgia Perimeter College’s Lawrenceville campus.

Rodney Carter of Carter Tree Service caught a glimpse of Stegall lying on his driveway next to the fallen ladder that Tuesday and knew something was not right.

“If Rodney hadn’t seen the guy, I don’t know what would have happened,” said Keith Reed, one of the four-men crew.

Stegall was covered in white paint over his front and lying in a pool of his own blood when the crew found him.

Stegall’s knees had exploded through his skin during the impact, so the knee bone was just jutting out, said his wife, Terry Stegall.

The 15-foot fall from the ladder had fractured Stegall’s left hip and his nose. He also had a dislocated shoulder, a cut lip, and lacerations to his face near his eyes.

“I was really concerned for the old guy,” Wood said. “He was in a lot of pain. He’s a tough old bird. He’s got my vote.”

Wood’s son was in a similar situation weeks before following a bad car accident. His son lay in a pool of blood for an hour before someone came by and helped, he said.

“We did whatever we would want somebody else to do for us,” Wood said.

Terry Stegall disagreed.

“They are truly heroes. We are indebted to them. They saved his life. If it weren’t for them, my husband would be dead,” Terry Stegall said.

Terry Stegall sent gift certificates to the Carter’s crew so she could at least treat them to lunch.

She has taken action for her husband too.

“We have banned him from ladders. We have banned him from Home Depot. We will hire out from here on out.” Terry Stegall said.