Schoharie County residents are hoping to bring some financial relief to a family facing huge medical bills following an accident at this year’s Sunshine Fair.
A fund has been established for Casey Boynton, a demolition derby competitor and father of four children who expects to be out of work for six months as he recovers from severe burns over more than 30 percent of his body.
Firefighters pulled Boynton out of his car during the Stoney Roberts Demolition Derby Aug. 4 after it burst into flames, turning the wreck into an inferno.
Boynton, of Charlotteville, spent nearly a month at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse before coming home last week.
“He was the breadwinner. Now he can’t work,” said Shelly Bishop, a friend of the Boynton family who has gotten a benefit account opened at the Bank of Richmondville.
Bishop said she’s hoping the community will help pull the family out of severe financial hardship they’ll face — Boynton doesn’t have medical insurance.
Boynton was one of numerous competitors in the dangerous field of demolition derbies considered part of the fabric of country fairs, Bishop said.
Boynton this week said he’s glad to be home, but returned to a whopping $43,000 bill for the emergency ride in a MedFlight helicopter that followed his rescue last month.
He said he needed two different surgeries on his arms and doctors placed pigskin bandages on his body to try to heal major burns. Those that didn’t heal required skin grafts from the side of his legs and his hip.
“I’m pretty much done for about a year,” he said.
Boynton said he may be able to go back to work in about six months, but for now he’s unable to lift, pull or lug anything and can’t bend over because of the burns to his knees.
He said he doesn’t remember much beyond having a decent competition and taking a couple “good hard hits,” one of which spun his car around in front of the grandstand.
He remembers a head-on collision with another car.
“I don’t remember much except hearing the boom. And the pain. Three days later, I woke up,” he said.
After 13 years of demolition derby competition, Boynton said there’s a one-in-a-million chance of suffering severe injuries in the events.
“I happen to be the one in a million,” he said.
Boynton said the straps to his derby car’s fuel tank, which holds about six gallons of gasoline, were broken during the derby, allowing gasoline and fumes to leak out.
He said when he hit nose-to-nose with another car, his battery jumped out of its holder, flipped upside down and created an arc on the floorboard that ignited the fumes, then the gasoline.
He said he’s not prepared to look at photographs people took of the burning inferno firefighters pulled him out of.
Participating in the demolition derbies, he said, has been a passion since his first competition. “Once you do it, you’re hooked.”
But after a near-death experience and facing months of recovery, he said he’s taken part in his last derby.
“Pretty much this ends my career on the demos. I’ve got four children at home to take care of and a wonderful wife and I can’t take a chance of going through this again.”
Boynton drives school buses in Otsego County and his 28-hour-per-week job doesn’t provide medical insurance.
Bank of Richmondville vice president Barbara Parsons said people can make donations at any branch. They are located at 857 East Main St. in Cobleskill, 428 Main St. in Schoharie and 284 Main St. in Richmondville.
Help can also be sent by mail to: Bank of Richmondville, ATTN: Casey Boynton Benefit Fund, P.O. Box 130, Richmondville, NY 12149