A 29-year-old man thinning the woods of a Charles County farm died last week when he was crushed by a falling tree, the Charles County Sheriff's Office said.
Jacob D. Hertzler of Mechanicsville was working for T.J.'s Logging, removing trees from a 40-acre portion of Philip Riffle's farm in Charlotte Hall. About 11 a.m. Wednesday, after he had made cuts in the trunk of a tree and moved on to trimming the limbs off a felled tree, the cut tree fell on Hertzler, said Kristen Adkins, spokeswoman for the sheriff's office.
"There's no indication of foul play," Adkins said. "It just appears to be a tragic accident."
A county forester had recommended thinning the stand of oaks and poplars on the 80-acre farm along Federal Hill Place Riffle said. T.J.'s Logging, which could not be reached to comment, came in to do the job over the past two weeks, Riffle said.
Riffle said he saw the poplar's fall and thought Hertzler was killed instantly.
Hertzler was pronounced dead at the scene, and his body was taken to the state medical examiner's office in Baltimore for autopsy, authorities said
As part of a routine review of such incidents, investigators from the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health office are looking into whether the logging equipment was being operated properly and whether the workers were taking required safety precautions.
On Thursday afternoon, the work site was deserted. Cut logs nearly 30 yards long were lined up on the fields, and one fallen tree lay across the soil.