Accident Briefs for September 2021

The first two items occurred in August 2021, but were not included in the Accident Briefs for the month of August in the October 2021 issue of TCI.

Type & number of incidents for August and September 2021

Tree worker injured in 30-foot fall

A tree and landscaping-company worker was injured in a 30-foot fall from a tree he was cutting August 3, 2021, in Torrington, Connecticut.

The worker, who was not identified, was unconscious but breathing when firefighters arrived on the scene. He was flown by Life Star helicopter to Hartford Hospital, according to Republican-American and other reports.

Worker hurt when struck on roadside

A tree worker was struck and seriously injured by a motorist while working with a chipper on the side of the road August 23, 2021, in Sunrise Beach Village, Texas.

A tree company’s truck was parked on the roadway as the victim, a 49-year-old employee, prepared for a job. The man was reportedly clearing brush from a wood chipper that was hitched to the truck when an F-150 pickup approached from behind and crashed into the chipper, which was not turned on. The victim fell further into the chipper and suffered serious injuries. No injuries to other tree workers were reported.

The F-150 driver later told authorities the sun was in his eyes and he could not see the work truck or the wood chipper until it was too late. Investigators confirmed impaired visibility may have been a factor, according to a report posted on

Compact-lift operator electrocuted

A tree and landscape worker was electrocuted September 8, 2021, in Northborough, Massachusetts, when the compact lift he was using while trimming trees came into contact with a power line.

First responders found the lift in contact with high-voltage electrical lines, which were energized, and the operator, a 25-year-old man, was not responsive. It was determined the victim was deceased upon the officers’ arrival. Responders had to wait for a power-company crew to arrive and cut power before bringing the victim down. It was later determined that the victim likely died instantly.

The tree trimmers were working for a private landscaping company that had been hired by two homeowners who live across the street from each other, according to and WBZ-TV reports.

Tree worker shot and killed by co-worker

A tree worker was shot and killed allegedly by a co-worker on the job September 14, 2021, in Portland, Oregon.

Ryan Muniz of Keizer, Ore., died at the scene of multiple gunshot wounds.

The suspect, Johnathan Gonzales-Salcido, 24, of Salem, Ore., reportedly ran away on foot and was found a short time later pushing a lawnmower down the road, apparently in an attempt to remain inconspicuous. He was arrested and booked on charges of second-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon and being a felon in possession of a weapon.

Muniz and Gonzales-Salcido were both employed by a Salem-area tree service and were working at a home when the shots were fired in the backyard. It was unclear what led up to the shooting, according to a KOIN 6 News report.

“The tree-felling company was there doing their work right, saws were buzzing away,” a neighbor told KPTV FOX 12 news.

The neighbor was outside and heard a tree fall and then what seemed like an argument.

“It was really hard to understand what was going on, if it was just co-workers going at each other, you know, doing whatever co-workers might do, yelling at each other, and it immediately escalated within 15, 20 seconds of the log hitting the ground, two shots,” the neighbor said, according to the KPTV FOX 12 report.

Lift operator dies in fall from bucket

An aerial-lift operator from Tennessee died September 15, 2021, in the Page Community of Bell County, Kentucky, when he fell from the bucket he was using while doing tree work at a residence.

Brian Terrence Parker, 54, of Tazewell, Tenn., owner of Parker Tree Company, was pronounced dead at the scene. Officers on scene determined Parker was not wearing a safety harness at the time of the incident, according to ABC 36 WTVQ-DT and reports.

Tree worker arrested for attacking boss

A tree worker was arrested and charged with attacking his boss September 17, 2021, at a job site at Summerfield, in Marion County, Florida.

Robert Elvis Barkley, 42, of Ocala, Fla., apparently began arguing with his boss. The boss, a woman who co-owns the tree service, told Barkley they should not be arguing at a client’s home. Barkley continued to get angry, so the boss used her cell phone to record his behavior. Once Barkley realized he was being recorded, he allegedly became enraged and began trying to grab her phone as she retreated. Barkley then grabbed her, bear hugged her and threw her to the ground.

Other employees grabbed Barkley and held him down, but he was able to flee the scene with the woman’s cell phone.

Deputies checked the area and were not immediately able to find Barkley. He was taken into custody two days later on a charge of battery, according to a report.

Homeowner hurt in fall while cutting limb

A homeowner was injured when he fell while cutting a limb from a tree September 23, 2021, in East Alton, Illinois.

The man was attempting to cut a tree limb down when the limb fell, taking the homeowner with it. The man fell 10 to 15 feet, and the tree limb landed on top of him.

The man was flown to a St. Louis hospital for treatment, but the severity of his injuries was not immediately known, according to a KMOV-TV report.

Man killed when cut limb rolls

A man died September 26, 2021, in Wyoming, Minnesota, when a large limb of a partially fallen tree he was cutting rolled on top of him.

The victim, a 65-year-old man, was pinned underneath the limb. His son called 911, but the man died, according to a KTOE radio report.

Bucket operator electrocuted

An aerial-lift operator was electrocuted September 28, 2021, in Pleasant Springs, Wisconsin, when the bucket he was standing in came into contact with a power line.

The man was taken to UW (University of Wisconsin-Madison) Hospital, where he later died, according to a WMTV report.

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