Centralia man undergoing multiple surgeries after industrial accident

Tuesday, August 8, 2017 at 7:44 pm

Leõn Esparza shared a photo on his Facebook page from the hospital in Vancouver. / Courtesy photo

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The National Frozen Foods employee who was severely injured this weekend when he was struck by a large forklift remains hospitalized in the intensive care unit today.

Leõn Esparza was airlifted to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver after police, firefighters and medics responded to an approximately 3:15 a.m. call Saturday to the plant at Northwest State Avenue and West Street in Chehalis. Initial information indicated he was flown to Seattle, but he wasn’t.

His left leg was, as he described this morning, crushed and shattered. A police officer who was first getting to the scene applied a tourniquet.

The 31-year-old Centralia man said he has undergone three surgeries and was awaiting another surgery today, on his right hip which is or may be broken. He said he was medicated, when he spoke briefly on the phone this morning, and in lots of pain, but very lucky to be alive.

The fire department said this weekend Esparza had just gotten off shift and was leaving when he was hit, apparently by the back wheel of a forklift.

Esparza said he has no idea how long the hospital plans to keep him. He still doesn’t know if they can save his leg, he said.

“It’s going to be awhile,” he said. “Don’t sugar coat it, I’m in a lot of pain and I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

He said he had family with him at the hospital. He also said he just started working for the vegetable processor a few weeks ago.

For background, read “News brief: Employee airlifted after tangling with large forklift” from Saturday August 5, 2017, here

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5 Responses to “Centralia man undergoing multiple surgeries after industrial accident”

  1. Sum Ting Wong says:

    Hope you have a speedy recovery!

  2. Sheree spindel says:

    Hope your okay i meant

  3. Sheree spindel says:

    I remember him,
    Sorry hope your play

  4. Charlene thrall says:


  5. nobody noticed says:

    Maybe the dude was walking in a hands off zone, talking or inspecting his cell phone messages after shift?

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