Man killed by fallen tree

Emergency crews respond to reports of a man injured by a toppled tree. 

The man killed Thursday off Whiskey Slide Road by a tree limb has been identified as Chris Hiser, 21, of Sonora, a press release from Phillips and Jordan confirmed Friday.

Hiser was a tree worker working on the Butte Fire Tree Removal Project employed by Leslie Heavy Hauling, a subcontractor.

Hiser was killed Thursday morning after he was struck by a tree limb. Calaveras County Coroner Kevin Raggio said he was elevated inside a bucket truck trimming vegetation when a limb from the tree he was working on or one nearby slid down the boom of the truck, struck him and killed him.

“The autopsy is not complete, but the cause of death will probably be blunt-force trauma,” he said Friday morning.

Emergency responders arrived just after 11 a.m. Thursday to find Hiser unconscious and began to administer CPR. An air ambulance was called and arrived at the Phil D. Alberts Baseball Field in Mountain Ranch at about 11:45 a.m., but departed without the victim about 30 minutes later.

Tree removal crews were scheduled to work along Whiskey Slide Road Thursday.

Phillips and Jordan is the company Calaveras County entered into a $9.78 million contract with in August to remove trees destroyed by the Butte Fire. The project was delayed until the start of 2017 while the county awaited National Environmental Policy Act clearance to mitigate damage on cultural artifacts and sensitive habitats in the area.

Calaveras County officials said last week the project was at its halfway point, in part, due to an efficient sequence of events the two weeks prior that saw crews remove 1,800 dead trees from both public rights of way and private property. A press release said 4,386 trees remained at the time.

Sean Thomas contributed to this report.

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