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Posted on Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 4:49 p.m.

Statement from Mary Ruth Armbruster on accident at Jenny's Dexter Market

By Cindy Heflin

Mary Ruth Armbruster, who was injured at Jenny's Dexter Market Sept. 24, released the following statement today:

Now that I am finally out of surgeries and no longer in extreme pain, nor heavily medicated, I am writing to clear up a number of misconceptions and mis-statements that have been presented to Ann by Burton Hoey and others:

1. Mr. Hoey told Ann that “The market will cover the young woman’s hospital bills.” Neither Mr. Hoey, nor his daughter Jenny Lambers, nor Jenny’s Market have paid any of my hospital bills, nor have they made any offer whatsoever to pay for my bills. Those bills will likely total hundreds of thousands of dollars for my surgeries, hospital costs, and many months of physical therapy.

2. Although several employees from Jenny’s Farm Stand have contacted me and sent kind regards, neither Mr. Hoey nor Jennifer Lambers have contacted me to find out how badly I am injured. Recent circumstances have indicated a misconception among some that I am “going to make a complete recovery”. Unfortunately my prognosis is paralysis from the waist down, with little to no chance of regaining full mobility.

3. Contrary to Mr. Hoey’s claim to Ann that “the hayrides are safe, his horses are well trained, and his equipment is in good condition,” and that “our equipment didn’t fail, and the wagon didn’t fail” my being injured is a direct result of faulty equipment and a course for the hay ride that included a dangerously steep downhill over uneven ground.” This steepness of the hill caused the young and less-experienced team of horses to run downhill, causing a dangerous buildup of speed. During this section of the course, my seat became dislodged from beneath me, and I was left standing and pulling against the reins with my entire body weight in an effort to slow the team before making the final turn at the end of the hill. Because the reins provided by Mr. Hoey as a part of the harnesses for this team were mismatched and uneven, I was holding one rein in each hand in order to adequately steer. At the bottom of the hill, one of the horses tripped, and because all my standing weight was being put against the reins, the 2000lbs of falling horse jerked me forward and I was pulled off the wagon. I was subsequently run over by the wagon and in the tumble beneath it, broke my spine between the T11 and T12 vertebrae.


Mary Ruth Armbruster



Fri, Nov 25, 2011 : 6:08 p.m.

Why have there been no updates on any facet of this Jenny's Market story in nearly a month? No update on the Sheriff's investigation of the "brutal attack" on Mr. Hoey. No update in the status of the injured worker. No update on the status of the health department investigation of the farm stand. What gives? A2dotcom was hot and heavy for awhile on this story and then just backed off.


Fri, Nov 4, 2011 : 2:56 p.m.

Young and less-experienced team of horses : I have examined this statement that partly attributes the accident to the young and less-experienced team of horses. Having used horses in my service in the remote mountainous terrain of Himalayas, I am not inclined to blame the horses. I have to look at the training and experience of the person who is using the horses. It needs communication skills to control the speed of the horses and I would not blame the horses if they have not restrained themselves or moved with an inappropriate speed. It is not acceptable to assign any blame to the horses who cannot speak for themselves.


Fri, Nov 4, 2011 : 3:26 a.m.

It's amazing to hear people defend this business owner and applaud him for fighting the big bad government with having poor safety conditions. People say that this accident could have happened anywhere. An accident is what occurs when all proper precautions are taken, not when carelessness and disregard are contributing factors. I pray that your condition improves Mary and wish you great luck with receiving justice, even if only through litigation.


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 4:17 a.m.

The truth in this situation, hopefully, will come out in the end. Obviously, there are conflicting statements involved but there's too little info at this point to know or determine much. I would certainly be "upset" if I suddenly found myself faced with a life of partial paralysis from an on-the-job accident. So it's somewhat understandable that Ms. Armbruster would make statements of the kind she has. I certainly offer my condolences and hope Ms. Armbruster has an attorney and follows the attorney's advice.

Matt Cooper

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 7:44 p.m.

Not to rain on anybodies parade, but according to Armbruster's statement here, "Mr. Hoey told Ann that "The market will cover the young woman's hospital bills." He did not say he would personally pay for anything. So if he's referring the bills to his insurance carrier, her bills will still be covered and he will have kept his word. This is what business insurance is for after all. Also, for Armbruster to claim "Neither Mr. Hoey, nor his daughter Jenny Lambers, nor Jenny's Market have paid any of my hospital bills, nor have they made any offer whatsoever to pay for my bills" is somewhat surprising. Has Armbruster even received a final bill for her medical treatment? I would be greatly surprised if she has received one so quickly. I have had a few surgeries in my life and usually it's take a few months before I've gotten any final bills. Just sayin'. Insurance usually won't pay until they see something akin to a final bill, at least for emergent and surgical services rendered. Secondly, Armbruster claims that "neither Mr. Hoey nor Jennifer Lambers have contacted me to find out how badly I am injured". This is somewhat confusing in light of an article of earlier today on where Armbruster's attorney confirms that Armbruster told him she didn't want to have contact with Hoey. It's confusing to me how Armbruster can direct her lawyer to inform Hoey to have no contact with her and then complain because he didn't contact her.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 3:58 p.m.

Just because she doesn't want to hear from him/them, does not mean that it is not noteable that he (they) have not tried to contact her. These are in fact two different issues. Whether she wants to hear from him/them, and whether he/they have tried to make contact. Two different things. Also, are we sure the insurance will cover if there was negligent behavior such as maintenance (the seat that fell off, the bumpy steep slope) or supplying with proper equipment (such as matched reins of the same length)?? Wouldn't it be kinda like expecting your health insurance or life insurance to pay out if you were injured or killed during the comission of a crime? I don't know how business liability or workers compensation insurance works, but it seems safe to assume that Mary Ruth has has legal counsel when looking at how her statement was constructed - and fitting that she would seek damages beyond the scope of simple reimbursement for medical bills, if even that would be covered by some sort of policy that Jenny's Farm Stand holds.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 3:38 p.m.

Thanks for your statement and we get a better understanding of this tragic accident. I am glad to note that you have not lost your consciousness because of this accidental fall. Head injuries are much more serious. I am totally surprised to read that your owner has not visited you after your injury sustained while you were at work. I read stories about slave owners who had shown compassion to their slaves if they got injured at work. If the owner has problem to pay the costs of hospital treatment, I may have some sympathy for the financial incapacity. The failure to provide emotional support and care is very unfortunate and I view it as a sin, a moral shortcoming. However, do not feel discouraged. You have survived this accident and your life has a great purpose and a reward of its own. Kindly speak to the Hospital Social workers; the hospital may waive your charges or you may qualify for Medicaid or Washtenaw Health Plan.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 11:03 a.m.

Mary Ruth - there are no words to express the depth of my dismay over your situation. I only have hope that our amazing medical community will continue to research ways to help you back to mobility - there are astonishing things happening in research labs - news reports amaze me with stories of medical innovations to help folks move forward after thinking they were in a chronic situation.... A few terrifying moments and your life has changed forever. Thank you for the description of the incident from your intimate point of view - we always get the initial report and then nothing. Unconscionable setup by Jenny's Farm Market - you should NEVER have been put in such a dangerous situation. Keep your spirit / attitude strong and positive, Mary Ruth - it will help in the months ahead.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 10:54 p.m.

If you sue, I hope you win. I thought people were being hard on the owner of the stand until reading this. God speed!

Marilyn Wilkie

Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 10:02 p.m.

Mary, my heart goes out to you and those who love you. This did not have to happen. I don't know what to say other than hang in there. The truth will win out.