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 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.