Richard A. Risinger, a tree trimmer from Belleville, Illinois, was killed in the front yard of a customer’s home after he was dragged into a wood chipper – as his co-worker wife watched on in horror.
Richard A. Risinger, 54, was mangled to death after his jacket became caught in the machine while he was loading tree limbs during a routine job.
When police officers arrived at the scene in Belleville at 9:50 a.m. on Friday, they observed Richard A. Risinger entangled in the wood chipper.
He was “obviously deceased”.
According to the Alton Telegraph, Detective Mark Heffernan of the Belleville Police Department said:
“There was a resident in that block that had hired a tree service to do some work on the property.
“[Mr Risinger] was part of the crew working on the property.
“We believe he was feeding a branch into the apparatus, and something caused him to become entangled, and he was pulled in.”
Mark Heffernan declined to release the name of the tree service but said Richard A. Risinger was one of five or six workers on the crew, one of whom was his wife.
A spokesman for the St. Clair County Coroner’s Office confirmed that Richard A. Risinger’s wife witnessed the accident but authorities declined to release her name.
The spokesman said Richard A. Risinger, from nearby Alton, was pronounced dead at the scene. He had sustained massive trauma.
“Evidently, part of his jacket or coat got tangled up and dragged him in head-first,” the coroner’s spokesman said.
He described the wood chipper as a “big, heavy piece of machinery”.
The chipper was on a trailer being pulled by a truck, the Alton Telegraph reported. No one else was injured in the incident, authorities said.
Mark Heffernan said the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)was notified about the accident.
“It is ‘standard procedure for any workplace-related incident resulting in death.”
OSHA representatives were conducting an investigation, authorities said.
“We believe this to be a tragic accident,” Mark Heffernan said.
“This was such a traumatic and sudden incident. Out of respect to the family, I don’t want to release any more details.”