Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Sister Newspapers' News

October 26, 2012

Man survives chain saw attack

TURBOTVILLE, Pa. — It was like a scene straight out of a frightening Halloween movie.

Robert Lee Tanner thought he had the situation under control as he held a pillow against the basement door of his mother’s home, locking her boyfriend, Guy Black, outside.

The 76-year-old Black was swinging a hatchet at the door in an attempt to break into the house he had been thrown out of the night before.

Then Tanner heard the chainsaw start.

“Your first thought is, ‘Get out!’” he said. “How are you going to stop it?”

Tanner, 59, knows he’s lucky to be alive following the weekend confrontation that has landed Black in jail.

If it weren’t for quick thinking — and the help of a sweat shirt and umbrella — Tanner said he may not have survived.

“My 60th birthday is next Tuesday and I almost didn’t make it,” Tanner said.

Tanner’s mother and Black had gotten into an argument and police were called. Black left and locks on the doors were changed.

But he returned the next morning. “He started beating on the door (with the hatchet),” Tanner said. “It was a hollow door, so it went right through."

Tanner couldn’t have predicted what happened next.

“That’s when I heard the chain saw start,” he said.

Police were on the phone with the family and advised everyone to leave the residence immediately, which they did, leaving Tanner and another relative in the front yard.

Black followed them with the chain saw running.

“He must have waved that thing in my face 50 times,” Tanner said.

Tanner’s finger was cut at one point during the argument. But it was a swing that caught Tanner’s sweat shirt that caused the power tool to stop.

“Thank God I had a sweat shirt on,” he said. “It was ripped up the full length on the front. ... The material stopped the chain.”

Tanner quickly grabbed an umbrella from the back of his truck and began swinging, eventually knocking Black off balance. He dropped the chain saw as he fell to the ground, where Tanner restrained him.

Police arrived shortly afterward and handcuffed Black.

Black remains in the local jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.

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Details for the story were provided by The Daily Item in Sunbury, Pa.

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