A New Year’s Eve celebration turned to tragedy when police say a man lost his hand Sunday after he picked up a homemade explosive thrown toward him in Longview.
Longview Capt. John Reeves said Corey Bartlette, 25, of Longview, threw a tennis ball filled with explosives around midnight in the direction of a 49-year-old man. Reeves said the man picked up the ball and “his hand was blown off.”
Bartlette was booked on suspicion of second-degree assault around 3 a.m. Sunday.
Bartlette’s father, Tom Lake of Longview, called the device a homemade firework used during a New Year’s Eve celebration. He said the ball bounced toward the victim, and was not intended to hit a person.
Reeves said homemade fireworks are illegal, and the department has confiscated similar devices in the past.
Witnesses told police the victim ran once the device exploded, Reeves said. He said the victim reached PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center by foot and was transferred to Oregon Health & Science University Hospital in Portland. Reeves did not have an update on the man’s condition.
Lake said his son turned himself in after the incident and “never meant any harm.”
“I understand it was an accident,” he said.
Cowlitz County Superior Court records show Bartlette is in the Cowlitz County Jail on a $15,000 bond and is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 13.