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Darren Needham (45) died when he was pulled into a wood chipper
Published: Jul 03, 2012 @ 4:47 PM
Darren Needham (45)
Jun 24, 2012
Cause of Death:
Shelby Township, Michigan
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The owner of a tree removal company died in an accident Tuesday when he was pulled into a wood chipper, police said.
"It looks like he got pulled in somehow," Shelby Township Police Lt. Stanley Muszynski said Thursday. "We don't know if he got caught on a branch that was being pulled in or how he went in, but he went in."
Authorities have identified the victim as Darren Shawn Needham, 45, of Shelby Township. Needham was the owner of Fella's Tree Service.
Muszynski said police and state occupational safety officials are investigating the incident, which happened while Needham was trimming a tree near 24 Mile and Mound roads on Tuesday. Police received an emergency call reporting the accident at about 9:30 p.m.
The wood chipper machine, sometimes called a tree chipper, is used to reduce tree limbs or tree trunks into wood chips or sawdust. The most recent statistics note that between 1992 and 2002, there were 31 occupational injury deaths nationally caused by wood chippers, according to the American Medical Association.
Officials said Needham's girlfriend and co-worker was on the scene when the accident happened.
"Right now, it doesn't appear that any charges will be filed," Muszynski said. "It's not looking that way, but we're still working on it. We're not going to close out the investigation probably until sometime next week."
One of Needham's former clients expressed her sympathies to his family Thursday.
"So very sad, he had cut down one of our trees and had done quite a few of our neighbors," said Barb Horton on Facebook. "Prayers for his family through this difficult and tragic time."
Funeral arrangements for Needham were announced Thursday. A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday at the William Sullivan & Son Funeral Home, 8459 Hall Road, east of Van Dyke, in Utica. Visitation will be 1-4 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home.
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