Wootans Remain In Critical Condition

Published online: Oct 24, 2005
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Last year's co-Grower of the Year, Wes Wootan, and his wife, Christine, remain in critical condition in a Salt Lake City, UT, hospital today following a tragic accident that killed his father last Thursday about 4:30 a.m.in Nevada.

According to Potato Growers of Idaho, which Wootan was actively involved and respected as a top Idaho process grower, the three, with a daughter and her two children, were in a four-door pickup which rolled in an early morning fog near Ely, NV.

Wes' father was killed in the rollover and both Wes and Christine, who were ejected from the vehicle,  have broken necks. In addition, Wes suffered a broken ankle on one leg and a broken knee on the other. Christine has two broken ribs, face and head injuries.

Wootan, with his partner, Don Bryant, of Glenn's Ferry, ID, have been recognized as some of the best process potato growers in western Idaho.
The pair, along with their wives, were honored by Potato Grower magazine at last December's PGI Annual meeting with co-grower of the year awards.

PGI Executive Director Keith Esplin said the Wootans were on their way to a family reunion in Arizona at the time of the mishap. The Wootan's daughter was hospitalized but released on Friday. Her two children were uninjured.

The accident happened near Ely, NV, and paramedics were on the scene in 15-to-20 minutes. However, after hospitalization for stabilization in Ely, the pair could not be flown to SLC until 4 p.m. due to fog.

Esplin, who briefly visited with Wootan in the hospital Friday, said he has three fractures in his neck. Christine was put on a respirator but has been responsive. Both were scheduled for surgery on their necks which involves removing a vertebrae and putting in a plate.

Esplin asked all in the industry to remember them in prayers.