What a horrific accident. A tree surgeon passed away this week after a series of accidents ended up with him in a wood chipper.
According to a police report obtained by The Sun, Joseph “Joey” Wesley Manire had been trimming trees in Owensboro, Kentucky, on Monday night. But things took a tragic turn when the 46-year-old tree surgeon somehow got tangled in a string of Christmas lights and fell into the dangerous machine, which shreds unusable tree branches into wood chips. We don’t even want to imagine what that might do to the human body. First responders pronounced him dead at the scene. Hopefully it was over in an instant.
The terrible incident occurred near the Owensboro Christmas Lights, a popular light display in the town that was started by one of the local families 25 years ago. The event features “over-the-top” decorations and lights — which hundreds of visitors come to see each year. It’s unclear whose lights Manire got tangled in, or how.
Understandably after such a grisly incident, the festivities were temporarily put on hold this week. Organizers for the attraction asked everyone on Facebook Monday to stay away from the area at the time, writing:
“Please be cautious and extra aware if you are traveling in our area tonight. There has been an accident concerning a landscaping business across the street from our display. Local authorities have our neighborhood blocked off at the moment. We have the lights on to help light the area for the first responders, but please plan to visit the display a different night.”
Wood chippers are extremely dangerous, though deaths are relatively rare — according to the National Library of Medicine, there were 113 wood chipper fatalities from 1982 to 2016. For such a brutal death to be associated forever with a Christmas event… Just awful.
Since the accident, Joey’s good friend Gregory Huntley penned an emotional tribute to him on social media Tuesday. He expressed in the message:
“You left behind a river of tears this morning and that river will grow into an ocean as the news reaches others. God don’t make men like you anymore. I’ll never forget what you and Lisa has done for me. I’m thankful to of had a good ole country boy like you in my life as a friend. Anything we needed something or a little help we had each other to count on.”
“I’m not saying goodbye. I’m saying save me a spot by the rivers edge for that heavenly fishing we’ll later take. Cause I will see you again someday. I pray God brings Dave peace and comfort along with your family and wife Lisa whom I will watch over and continue to be there for. I love you brother and until we meet again you fly high and keep an eye over us.”
Law enforcement said the situation is under investigation at this time, but did note that no foul play was suspected. Our hearts go out to Joseph’s friends and family during this difficult time. We cannot imagine what they must be going through after losing him so suddenly and cruelly.