Man Killed After Going Through Wood Chipper

DAVIE (CBSMiami) – A tree service worker died Monday afternoon after authorities said he somehow fell and went all the way through a wood chipper.

It happened along Southwest 57th Street just east of Pine Island Road.

Joseph Horta lives at the home directly in front of where the accident took place.

“You hear about this stuff in the movies, but then all of the sudden it happens right outside your door step,” Horta told CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana. “All the sudden I hear all these sirens and I look outside and I see some piles of blood. It was horrifying.”

Hours after what police are calling a “workplace accident,” investigators  in protective suits used extra care when handling the victim’s remains.

The meticulous process of recovering what they could from inside the chipper and the debris-filled truck went well into the night Monday.

“I’ve never seen anything like this. This is a gruesome scene,” Davie Police Capt. Dale Engle said. “This isn’t something you see everyday. This isn’t something you can just go home and forget about.”

A sign on a nearby truck read “Tree Techs.”

Calls to the Pembroke Pines-based company were not immediately returned.

Police said two fellow workers were in the area when the accident happened. One man saw everything and ran to a nearby home for help.

“A man outside my door was frantically waving his arms and then he ran off in the other direction,” Horta said. “I’m thinking to myself, what happened?!”

Another worker who said he didn’t see what happened would only say he couldn’t tell us anything when leaving the scene.

Neighbor Linda Simmons said landscape crews usually trim the trees on the edge of the Jewish Community Center property along Pine Island Road once a year.

It’s not clear what happened to make the usually routine task go terribly wrong this time.

“It’s sad. The guys were working really hard and he just made a mistake I guess,” Simmons said.

An officer with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, was on scene for a few hours Monday. He declined to comment about the ongoing investigation.

Police haven’t released the victim’s name, as they are waiting to notify his loved ones.

Capt. Engle said counselors will be available to officers to help them cope with the disturbing scene.

Watch Lauren Pastrana’s report, click here





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