WOODSTOCK – Sheriff’s leaders this week plan to review an accident at their shooting range that left a deputy with multiple abrasions similar to “road rash,” Sheriff Keith Nygren said.
An incident report indicates a SWAT team deputy was struck by metal fragments from training ammunition that hit a metal target about 1:30 p.m. March 15.
A team of eight deputies was challenged to shoot targets representing potential threats as they entered a room, according to a narrative by a range officer. The exercise was similar to others they had performed in that room that day, but the targets were arranged in a new pattern, the report states.
Deputy Eric Woods entered the room first, shot at a target, and stood near a metal target representing an attack dog, which Deputy Michael Hart struck when he entered the room a few minutes later, the report states.
The training ammunition is designed to fragment when it hits a steel target in a manner similar to a snowball hitting a wall, Nygren said. Fragments struck Woods in his right hand, left arm and left leg, but sheriff’s staff concentrated first aid efforts on his leg, the incident report indicates.
Others also noticed a small amount of blood on Woods’ face.
Woods was taken to Centegra Hospital – Woodstock, where he was treated and released that day. He returned to work that week but since has taken more time off work because the injury became infected, Nygren said.
Range officers, leaders and Nygren will review what happened and determine what, if any, changes should be made for future training exercises, Nygren said. They would have discussed the incident earlier, but Sgt. Jim Wagner, the training coordinator, was out-of-town last week for a conference related to initiating a local drug court.
“The main thing is we learn from it and it doesn’t happen again, if it can be prevented,” Nygren said, adding he could not think of another accident at the range in recent history.