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Harvester injures leg on combine

By Bob Freund

freund@postbulletin.com

ELGIN — A worker harvesting peas suffered leg injuries while working on a combine very early Wednesday morning in Wabasha County.

Gary Thelen, 23, of Dover was reported in fair condition at Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester this morning, a Mayo Clinic spokeswoman said. He was airlifted from the field along Wabasha County Road 2 about 11⁄2 miles north of Elgin.

The accident occurred at about 1:45 a.m. during harvesting operations for Lakeside Foods, which operates a processing plant at Plainview, Wabasha County Sheriff Rodney Bartsh said. Thelen apparently was in the hopper of the combine, where peas are collected, at the time.

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Another worker found him in trouble, he said. Local emergency crews freed him. He sustained leg injuries, but was conscious and alert, according to the sheriff’s report.

Lakeside processes peas and other vegetables, the best known of which is sweet corn.

Harvesters may work in the nighttime hours when necessary to gather crops at their best stages of growth for canning or freezing.

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