Fines levied against tree service company after teen gets pulled into wood chipper

A tree service company has been fined by the North Carolina Department of Labor after a teenager was pulled into a wood chipper and killed in December.

An Occupational Safety and Health Inspection investigation found five serious violations against Crawford Tree Service and Stump Grinding Co.

Mason Cox, 19, from Gastonia, was working his first shift at the company when he was pulled feet first into a wood chipper.

Cox was putting tree limbs into the wood chipper when the owner of the company, Jon Crawford, heard the machine get bogged down. Crawford quickly hit the kill switch and put the machine in reverse, but he could not save Cox from getting pulled into the machine.

Crawford suffered a heart attack at the scene and had to be rushed to the hospital, police said.

The OSHA report found one alleged willful serious violation and four alleged serious violations with a total penalty of $39,200.

The company has 15 working days to file an appeal on the fine.

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