WEBSTER GROVES (KMOV) – Three days have passed since a terrible accident at a primary school in Webster Groves where a 9-year-old boy cut his finger. His family is still left with unanswered questions.
“I mean we’re still trying to figure out exactly what happened,” Tim Engelmeyer said.
Engelmeyer is Talisa Pierce’s lawyer and friend. Pierce says his son, DJ Williams, lost his middle finger in his right hand in a fall while in class at Bristol Elementary School.
“Monday afternoon, somewhere around [2-2:20 p.m.], DJ had tripped and during that fall his hand got caught or sliced on a very sharp edge of a computer/filing cabinet,” Engelmeyer said. “Part of the finger was removed from the hand during the fall and it remained on the filing cabinet.”
The family says the school did not call 911 after the incident, and they still don’t know why.
“Any chance there was of reattaching the part of the finger that was lost, those chances kind of disappeared when the emergency, 911 wasn’t called,” Engelmeyer said.
Engelmeyer says the family was also unaware of the extent of the incident when the school called Pierce.
“At some point DJ was taken to the nurse’s office. We’re still trying to figure out exactly the process, but eventually DJ was picked up by his grandfather at the end of the school day with all the other parents coming to pick up their kids,” Engelmeyer said. “We told the grandfather that DJ had a gash on his finger. Well, it was more than just a gash. It was a finger amputation.
Engelmeyer added: “DJ came to grandpa’s car with his hand wrapped. And that’s when grandfather first felt the seriousness of the injury. When he was unpacked in emergency care, he really had no idea how serious the situation was.
DJ eventually ended up in St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
“He asked the doctor, ‘when is my finger going to grow back,’ which tugs at your heart a bit,” Engelmeyer said.
Despite the incident, DJ remains in good spirits, although he also wonders how this could have happened to him.
“[He is a] very athletic, very rambunctious, energetic, wonderful wonderful little boy,” Engelmeyer said. “Love basketball, love all sports.”
However, his family fears that he will now lose his entire hand due to the severity of the injury.
“The family were told during the initial consultation that there was a risk he might lose more than just his finger, which obviously alarmed them,” Engelmeyer said. “I think it will be addressed tomorrow when they go to the children’s hospital and have a look. We hope and pray that the damage is done and that there are no more problems with his hand.
News 4 asked Engelmeyer if there are any plans to take legal action against the school district at this time.
“We will assess everything as things progress. But to answer your question, at this time we have not discussed a trial in detail,” Engelmeyer said.
Right now, Engelmeyer says her goal is to help the family get answers while focusing on their son’s recovery.
“I sent a simple letter to the district today, simply asking them to protect or secure video and other communications from this day forward,” Engelmeyer said.
The district declined to comment on the incident on camera, but said it was investigating the incident. In a statement released earlier this week, the district said the following:
“Webster Groves School District is aware of reports of an accident, a fall, which occurred at Bristol Elementary School on Monday, April 18, 2022, which may have injured a student requiring medical attention. The District remains concerned and committed to the health and safety of its students and is currently investigating the incident in question. However, due to confidentiality obligations imposed by federal law (FERPA), the Webster Groves School District is unable to release information regarding the accident or the student’s condition and therefore is not unable to comment further on the matter at this time.
On Thursday afternoon, Engelmeyer told News 4 the school called DJ’s family and went to pick up his finger, which was still at school. She plans to bring it to the hospital when they visit tomorrow.
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