Archive for Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Late-night calls for help pay off for local man

September 17, 2003

Joey Vestal's voice drifted through the darkness early Tuesday morning.

Vestal bellowed "help" again and again. But at 2 a.m. at the deserted Leavenworth County Fairgrounds in Tonganoxie, very few people are around to hear.

While riding a friend's motorcycle at the fairgrounds, Vestal hit a large mud puddle and crashed to the ground.

With his leg severely injured, Vestal appeared to be helpless-- unable to use a leg and not another human in sight.

Vestal's will, however, changed the odds.

Continuing to yell for help, Vestal dragged himself from the accident scene toward Kansas Highway 16.

As he slowly made his way, reports of someone calling for help hit the police scanner airwaves.

Residents on George Road, and even Smiley Road, could hear his cries for help.

"Sounds must have really traveled," said Joey's uncle, Mike Vestal, who is the police dispatcher. "They could hear him from Jack Willis' house on Smiley Road."

Soon after, Joey's father, Larry, called Tonganoxie police because his son was not at home.

Mike said Larry had a hunch it was his son who was in distress.

"He said, 'My son's missing and I think that's who you're hearing,'" Mike recalled.

Finally, young Vestal's calls were answered.

Authorities found Vestal about halfway between the accident scene and K-16 and transported him to KU Medical Center where he underwent surgery about 3 a.m. for a severe compound fracture to the lower left leg.

Mike Vestal said Tuesday afternoon that Joey had come through surgery successfully and should be out of the hospital in two to three days.

"He's got a lot of pins and screws in his leg," Vestal said.

Police said alcohol was not a factor in the accident.

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