Accident Briefs for February 2021

Two injured in tree-truck crash

Two people were injured in a crash involving an overturned aerial-lift truck February 4, 2021, in Santa Rosa, California.

Firefighters with the Sonoma Valley Fire District had to extricate at least the driver from the truck. One patient was flown to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with moderate to major injuries, while the other was transported by ambulance to Sonoma Valley Hospital. Both occupants were expected to recover from their injuries, firefighters said.

The truck had been towing a wood chipper, and a considerable amount of debris spilled during the crash. The truck also leaked a substantial amount of motor oil. Mechanical issues contributed to the truck crashing headlong into a tree while traveling down an incline, according to a report in The Press Democrat.

Two killed in dispute over firewood

Two men were killed in a dispute over a load of firewood they had just delivered February 10, 2021, in Parkville, Missouri.

On the night of the shooting, investigators say the shooting suspect, who was not identified, went home and then contacted police. Charges had not been filed in the ongoing investigation.

Kalob Lawson, 34, an arborist, was delivering firewood with Jonathan Lutz, 44, and a teenaged helper. After dropping off the wood and leaving, the victims realized someone was following them and trying to force them to pull over. According to police, the pursuing vehicle stopped in front of the truck and a male exited the vehicle and began firing a handgun at the truck, striking both men.

The shooter reportedly yelled, “You shorted my dad on firewood,” prior to firing the gun.

Relatives say Lawson died at the scene. Lutz was taken to the hospital, where he died. The juvenile was unharmed, according to a KCTV5 News report.

Compact-lift operator injured

An experienced tree worker was severely injured when the top boom of an 83-foot compact lift apparently suffered a sudden structural failure, dropping him to the ground with it, on a job February 17, 2021, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The injured arborist, Sam Neterval-Quiel, suffered multiple injuries, according to a GoFundMe post and a report.

Climber rescued from 50 feet up

A climber was rescued from a tree February 20, 2021, in Port Ludlow, Washington, after he realized, once aloft, that his ropes were too frayed to trust for the climb down.

The Port Ludlow man had climbed 50 feet up the trunk, apparently cutting limbs as he went, according to photos. But at some point he discovered the ropes he had used in his climb were frayed and he couldn’t use them to get back down.

Rescue units from Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue responded to the call, as well as East Jefferson Fire Rescue and the Navy’s technical rescue teams from Naval Magazine Indian Island and Rescue 61, from the Navy’s installation in Bangor.

A member of one of the Navy’s technical teams climbed the tree and attached ropes to the harness the tree cutter was wearing, and the two descended to the ground safely, according to a report in The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader.

Lift operator dies in fall

An aerial-lift operator doing tree work was killed after a cut limb struck the bucket he was in and he fell 30 feet to the ground February 23, 2021, in Anderson, South Carolina.

Jacob C. Williams, 64, was treated at the scene and transported to AnMed Health after suffering cardiac arrest and traumatic injuries. He later died; the cause of death was blunt-force chest trauma, according to a FOX Carolina News report.

Lift operator cuts own neck, dies

An aerial-lift operator died when his chain saw kicked back into his neck February 25, 2021, in Brownsville, Tennessee.

Charlie “TreeMan” Shreve, 50, of Mercer, Tenn., was cutting a branch one-handed with his left hand, according to eyewitness reports. The branch was just above his head. As he turned to throw the cut branch, the saw glanced off the tree limb and kicked back, striking the victim. He slumped down in the bucket.

By the time co-workers were able to lower the victim and extract him from the bucket (it took four people, a forklift and a rope to do so), he had expired. This account is according to reports provided directly to TCI Magazine
staff and the victim’s obituary at

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