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Arrow Head
Story written by Rick Archer
Pictures contributed by Chris Holmes
Published August 2008


Associated Press -- Oct. 14, 2001

BURLINGTON, Vermont -- An Underhill man shot in the back of the head with an arrow while bow hunting is recovering slowly, according to his family members.

Surgeons spent three hours removing the arrow.

Ron Derouchie, 24, was recovering at home Friday, Oct. 12, after his brother, Brian, 22, fired an arrow into the back of his head. The arrow penetrated Ron Derouchie's skull and pierced his brain, stepmother Wendy Derouchie said.

The family is worried about whether the arrow caused lasting vision damage.  Ron Derouchie is having trouble sleeping and not feeling well, but his eventual outlook is good, she said.

"He has a lot of headaches," Wendy Derouchie said. "He gets really tired."

The brothers were hunting deer at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in Underhill when the incident occurred, said Lt. Robert Rooks, acting chief of law enforcement for the Fish and Wildlife Department.

Police are treating the incident as accidental.

When Ron Derouchie shot, he bumped his brother, who had drawn his arrow back and was preparing to release it, Rooks said. The bump caused Brian Derouchie to swivel as he was shooting, and the arrow hit Ron Derouchie in the back of his head, Rooks said.

The fact that the brothers were standing close together prevented the accident from being worse, Rooks said. "The arrow wasn't able to gain the same momentum that it would have if it had actually been released," he said.

Ron Derouchie remained conscious and walked from the woods with his brother, who was more than slightly shaken by the incident, Wendy Derouchie said.

"As they came out of the woods, Ron was walking around with an arrow in back of his as he calmed his brother Brian down," she said.

Another Arrow Head Story

May 1, 1993

Doctors at Portland's University Hospital said Wednesday an Oregon man shot through the skull by a hunting arrow is lucky to be alive, and will be released soon from the hospital. Tony Roberts, 25, lost his right eye last weekend during an initiation into a men's rafting club Mountain Men Anonymous, in Grants Pass, Ore.

A friend tried to shoot a beer can off his head, but the arrow entered Roberts' right eye. Doctors said had the arrow gone 1 millimeter to the left, a major blood vessel would have been cut and Roberts would have died instantly.

Neurosurgeon Dr. Johnny Delashaw at the University Hospital in Portland said the arrow went through 8 to 10 inches of brain, with the tip protruding at the rear of his skill, yet somehow managed to miss all major blood vessels. Delashaw also said had Robert tried to pull the arrow out on his own Roberts admitted afterwards he and his friends had been drinking that afternoon.

Said Roberts, "I feel so dumb about this."

No charges have been filed but the Josephine County district attorney's office said the initiation stunt is under investigation.

A later report added these details:

Both Roberts and his buddy had been drinking before the archer aimed his bow at a gallon can balanced on his pal's head. The arrow's tip penetrated 10 inches into Roberts' brain, slicing through soft facial tissue.  The arrow stopped a fraction of an inch away from major blood vessels.

Although Roberts survived, he lost his right eye. During the helicopter ride to the hospital, Roberts fearlessly attempted to actually pull the arrow out of his head with his bare hands. Thank goodness the paramedics on the flight were able to pin his arms back.
Otherwise he surely would have killed himself!  

Doctors later drilled a large hole around the arrow's tip at the back of his skull, then pulled the arrow through.

Rick Archer's Note:  For you skeptics, this story is not fictitious. 

Due to the absolute stupidity of the stunt plus Roberts' insane attempt to pull the arrow back out himself - a move that probably would have killed him - this incident has been immortalized as one of the most famous stories in the long and dubious history of the Internet Darwin Awards.

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