NEVADA CITY (CBS13) – A man died Thursday morning after getting caught in a wood chipper while trimming trees at a home outside of Nevada City, according to the Nevada County Sheriff’s Department.

Martin Lara Urena

The accident happened around 8 a.m. at a home on Indian Shack Road. The victim, identified as Martin Lara, 50 of Applegate,
was part of crew using a large, industrial wood chipper.

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Co-workers heard the man scream but could not help him in time.

According to the sheriff’s office, Lara somehow became entangled in a rope that was tied around a bundle of wood and was being pulled by the chipper. He was decapitated apparently either by the rope, clothing or brush and his body was pulled into the cone of the wood chipper but didn’t go all the way in before a co-worker pulled the lever.

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“It was definitely a freak accident,” said sheriff’s Sgt. Hap Penaluna.

The company, Bushwackers, had been hired by the homeowner to clear brush.

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“I don’t know how that could have happened,” said Jim Norman, owner of Trees Unlimited, who said he planned to talk to his 10 employees in the wake of the accident. “It brings tears to my eyes.”