The Washington Post

Guilty plea in wood chipper death

A landscaping company has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor safety violation stemming from a wood chipper accident that killed a 14-year-old worker.

The Daily Press reports that Old Tree Dominion and Lawn Care owner Robert Lee Strickland Jr. entered the plea Thursday on behalf of his company.

Assistant York-Poquoson Commonwealth’s Attorney Patricia A. Dart says a felony child endangerment charge against Strickland was dropped.

Strickland was the guardian of the victim, Frank Anthony Gornick, who was killed in November 2010. Authorities say the teen was using a shovel to drop debris into a wood chipper’s hopper when he was pulled into the machine.

Dart says the company was fined $35,000 with all but $1,000 suspended for five years.


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