VANCEBURG — A sawmill accident claimed the life of 53-year-old "Tom" Guy Thomas Horsley of Vanceburg on Friday morning.
The Lewis County Sheriff's Office reported that Horsley, a self-employed sawmill operator, was operating a mill on Tar Fork Road when he accidentally fell into the blade. Horsley was pronounced dead by Lewis County Coroner Tony Gaydos at 10:56 a.m.
"It was a freak accident," said Deputy Joe Gilbert of the Lewis County Sheriff's Office.
In addition to the sheriff's office, the Camp Dix Volunteer Fire Department and the Portsmouth Ambulance Service also responded to the scene.
Horsley was the son of Wilma Dunaway Horsley and the late Guy Horsley of Vanceburg. He was married for 34 years to Marsha Lewis Horsley and was a father to Thomas Benjamin Horsley and Paula Horsley Hampton.
In addition to owning his own sawmill, Horsley was an ordained minister. He was a member of Mosby Community Church and was a minister at I'll Talk for Jesus Pentecostal Church. He was also a veteran of the United States Air Force.
Horsley was active in ministering to the Lewis County Detention Center. Lewis County Jailer Tim Underwood said Horsley visited the jail on Tuesday evenings.
"He hardly ever missed a Tuesday," said Underwood. Underwood said Horsley would counsel the inmates, read scripture and play gospel music.
"He was a good man, we really appreciated him coming in," said Underwood.
Underwood went on to say that 21 of inmates of the detention center planned on paying their respects to Horsley just prior to the open visitation at the funeral home.
"They really responded well to him (Horsley)," said Underwood.
Horsley's funeral service will be held today at the Mosby Community Church on Straight Fork. Burial will follow the service in the Valley View Cemetery at Tar Fork.
According to information provided by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Health and Safety Administration, "Working in a sawmill is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States."
The Kentucky Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2004, there were nine reported sawmill injuries in Kentucky. Sawmill deaths were listed under a broader category. The exact number of deaths could not be extrapolated.
Contact Carrie Carlson at 606-564-9091, ext. 271.