A Roane County woman is in critical condition in a Kentucky medical center after her head was caught in a slicing machine at the Spencer Veneer manufacturing plant. Melissa May, about 30, was taken to Roane General Hospital about noon Tuesday.

She was transferred to Charleston Area Medical Center and then life-flighted to the University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington. She was reportedly in surgery for nearly ten hours, prior to being admitted to the Trauma Unit.

A family spokesperson told The Herald, "she was scalped after her hair was caught in the machine, taking her right ear and removing her scalp down her neck and back."

May had been an employee at the plant for less than a year.

Ms. May was the daughter of former Calhoun residents, the late Dolan Whiting and Linda Goodrich Whiting. She has a 10-year-old daughter.

Spencer Veneer has been fined for various hazards by OSHA, more recently in May for $123,000. They were issued 34 violations in 2001 and fined $57,000, in addition to a $5000 fine when a man was killed falling from a scaffold. The company appealed some of the violations and the fines were reduced.

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