Seymour man hurt when homemade cannon explodes during New Year’s celebration

A 30-year-old Jackson County man was taken to a Louisville hospital early Sunday morning after he sustained a “severe leg” injury when a homemade cannon exploded during a New Year’s Eve celebration, police report.

The incident that left Kyle S. Sexton of Seymour hurt occurred as he attempted to “dry fire” the homemade cannon made of a 2-inch steel pipe, according to a report from Detective Bob Lucas with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department.

Dry fire involves “firing” a firearm without any ammunition in it.

The explosion, which occurred at the home of Robert Helblig off County Road 600E in Vernon Township, sent a piece of the pipe into the upper inside area of Sexton’s right leg, causing “severe bleeding,” Lucas said.

Crothersville Officer J.L. McElfresh was the first officer to arrive at the scene after the incident  was reported at 11:41 p.m. Sunday to sheriff’s department dispatchers.

McElfresh began administering first aid to slow the bleeding until medical personnel with the Jackson County Ambulance Service and Crothersville-Vernon Township Fire Department arrived, Lucas said.

Sexton was taken to Schneck Medical Center in Seymour for transfer to University of Louisville Hospital by air ambulance, but weather conditions grounded the helicopter, leading to him being transfer by ambulance. His condition was stable at the time of the transfer, Lucas said.

Lucas said Sexton and others planned to fire the homemade device for New Year’s when the pipe accidentally exploded.

County Officer Jesse Hutchinson is investigating the incident. Others assisting at the scene included county Senior Reserve officers Steve Murphy and Rick Hirtzel.

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Aubrey Woods is editor of The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at awoods@tribtown.com or 812-523-7051.