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Driver falls under blades of bush hog

It was twilight on a warm evening, and Bob Chappell was clearing brush on his father's land. Suddenly, his tractor rode over a nest of yellow jackets.

The impact threw Chappell to the ground, where his left leg became entangled in the heavy duty blades of a bush hog attached to the tractor. The yellow jackets went into a rage, and they struck at the nearest target: Chappell.

What followed was a series of quick, smart decisions from family members who came to Chappell's aid. Though they could not save Chappell's left leg, a paramedic said Thursday, the relatives probably saved his life.

Family members found Chappell screaming in the field after the Saturday afternoon accident

and ran to call 911, according to family members, paramedics and news accounts.

Chappell's brother-in-law, Dennis Wilson, used rope to fashion a tourniquet, according to Carol Tipton, a paramedic who later administered first aid.

Wilson tied one end of the rope to Chappell's leg and the other to a hammer, Tipton said. He then turned the hammer to vary the amount of pressure on the leg and stop the heavy bleeding.

"It was definitely a life-saving maneuver," Tipton said. "He really thought it out in real quick fashion."

Wilson, who was designated the family spokesman, could not be reached for comment. His children, 12 and 14, were among those who helped in the rescue.

Chappell was at Citrus Memorial Hospital late Thursday, in stable condition. He declined to answer questions.

Doctors had to amputate his left leg below the knee. He also broke his right leg and ankle and some of his ribs.

Chappell, 47, is the longtime owner of Bob's Office Supply in Crystal River. His father, Carl, owns the property east of State Road 200 in the northeast portion of Citrus County where the accident occurred.

Tipton commended Wilson and the other family members for their efforts.

For one, they gave excellent driving directions to the 911 operator handling their call, Tipton said.

Next, the family stood on the road and directed Tipton to the field where Chappell was lying. When she arrived, they stepped back and let her work.

"The family did good not moving him," Tipton said.

"They handled themselves extremely well."