Coroner: Man doing yard work, killed after tree limb falls on him

Coroner: Man doing yard work, killed after tree limb falls on him
Published: Feb. 20, 2014 at 2:51 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 20, 2014 at 7:22 PM EST
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SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - The Dorchester County Coroner's office says a 43-year-old man was killed on Wednesday after a tree limb fell and struck him on the head.

Coroner Chris Nisbet says Jason Couch was doing yard work at his home on Pristine Court in the Legends Oaks neighborhood when a tree limb fell out of a tree and struck Couch.

Nisbet says an autopsy Thursday morning showed the cause of death to be brain injury due to blunt force trauma to the head.

Officials say Couch was by himself when the incident happened, and was found by his wife when she arrived back home with their two children at 4:30 p.m.

"I believe due to the high winds yesterday and the recent freeze storm last week is what caused this accident to happen, but DCSD is investigating," Nisbet said in a press release.

Protecting yourself during storm clean up

Thursday, crews worked to clear large pine tree branches throughout the Legend Oaks subdivision.

A lot of those branches snapped during the winter freeze.

"It's not really odd, they do it a lot. They basically get heavy and some of them do snap," said Chuck Lester, owner of the Big Head Chuck's Tree Service.

Lester's company will be cutting down the tree where a branch fell onto 43-year-old Jason Couch killing him in his backyard.

Lester said, "I guess you don't hear about many people getting injured from it."

Lester says tree branches are often heavier than what we think.

"They don't look as big up in the air until they do hit the ground and then you look at it and say wow, that was a big limb," said Lester.

There are many huge pine trees in the Legend Oaks neighborhood. Lester says those branches can weigh a lot.

Lester said, "Probably a couple hundred pounds."

Lester says it's best to take a look at your tree for broken limbs or a limb that has damage on it.

Lester says some of those limbs can hang from a tree for years before falling.

If you have a pine tree, Lester says it's also important to watch out for pine beetle damage

Lester said, "They look like little bullet holes in the tree."

Lester says trees need to be healthy to withstand the weather because they're often tossed around by the wind.

"That actually helps them, the flexibility of that tree," said Lester.

Lester says the swaying shouldn't worry you too much.

"They're doing what they're supposed to do," said Lester.

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