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Michigan meat processor ordered to pay fines after teen lost hand in grinder

CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for August, 8, 2023
CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for August, 8, 2023 02:42

The owner of a meat business in western Michigan was ordered to pay $1,143 Tuesday after a 17-year-old worker lost his hand in a grinder.

Ionia County Judge Ray Voet said the accident was a "horrible tragedy" but didn't warrant jail or probation for Darin Wilbur, WOOD-TV reported.

The teenager lost his hand in 2019 while working at US Guys Processing in Saranac, 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of Grand Rapids. Wilbur was investigated for employing a minor in hazardous work and not getting work permits. He pleaded guilty.

"Two months later, we wouldn't even be here," the judge said, noting that the teen soon would have turned 18 years old.

"Ionia County is a farming county, and I know a lot of people in this county view children working, sometimes around dangerous machinery, as part of growing up," Voet said.

Defense attorney Howard Van Den Heuvel said Wilbur hired the teen, a high school dropout, as a way to help him. He said the boy was warned to never put his hand inside the grinder.

The case was filed by the attorney general's office.

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