NORMANDY, Mo. – A tree trimmer working for the City of Normandy died Monday after being struck by a fallen tree.
Several public works employees were trimming trees at the edge of Hoelzel Park when one came down on one of the workers.
The scene has remained untouched since the incident. The Missouri branch of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating.
Normandy’s public works director said off camera there were three witnesses, all of whom were shocked to see the result of what was a typical job gone horribly wrong.
The tree, which was hollow, had been marked for removal. You can still see the wedge cut from the tree in preparation for its fall, which appeared to be in the predicted direction.
Normandy Mayor Mark Beckmann said he was too choked up to speak on camera, but identified the employee as Harold Parker.
Parker, 56, had been working for the city for about a year. Mayor Beckmann said everybody is so devastated that they’re going to do nothing right now except grieve. Once they get through that process, he said they’re going to debrief to determine exactly what happened to make sure this never happens again.
Mayor Beckman, who showed signs of shock throughout our conversation, called it a “tragic, fluke accident,” in which Parker somehow found himself under the falling tree.
The public works director, who was one of the witnesses, said it appeared to be a fluke, in which nothing appeared to be going wrong until the tree was down.
FOX 2 reached out to Parker’s family, who declined to comment.
Two park visitors also declined to talk on camera as they stared at the area in disbelief. One of them said he just wanted to think positive thoughts about a worker who gave his life to improve the park.
Several other trees remain marked with red Xs for removal, but that work is on hold indefinitely.