Cana man killed in tree-cutting accident

By Bill Colvard -

A Cana, Virginia, man was killed on the job Thursday while cutting trees in Pinnacle.

Stokes County Emergency Services Director Brandon Gentry said Lefty Michael Ogle, 60, of Cana, was killed in the incident.

“A limb had fallen and hit the gentleman on the head,” said Gentry, “and he suffered a fatal injury from it.”

The call came in at 9:52 a.m. Thursday, and EMS and Double Creek Fire Department were dispatched to call, which identified a head trauma, Gentry said.

Ogle was transported by Air Care to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem.

Ogle’s sister, Sherry Holt, said on Monday that Ogle died later that evening at approximately 7:30 p.m.

“Lefty was on the ground and his partner was in the bucket. Lefty had moved from the safe zone,” said Holt. “His partner hollered, but they were both wearing earplugs. He had his hard hat on, but it (the tree limb) crushed his brain.”

Ogle’s wife, Tammy Ogle, did not receive word of the accident until several hours later when she was called by Baptist Hospital staff who had found her number on her husband’s cell phone.

She said her husband had been working at his job with Carter Utility Tree Service since 2002.

Dwayne Carter, owner of Carter Utility Tree Service, said, “Our prayers and condolences go out to the family of our employee Mr. Ogle. Mr. Ogle was a good man and a fine employee. Of course, the North Carolina Department of Labor is investigating and will be investigating the facts and gathering statements to determine exactly what happened. I had a preliminary discussion with them on Friday. From what I understand, it can take as long as six months for a final determination to be made.”

“There is always the potential for accidents in this industry,” added Carter. “Sometimes the elements are not good to us.”

“This is rare,” said EMS director Gentry. “This is not something we routinely see, by no means.”

Though rare, this is the third fatal accident involving area residents since October.

On July 21, Chrystal Hodges, of Lumber Plant Road in Lowgap, was killed when a tree fell on her during a commercial tree-cutting operation. She and her husband were professional tree removers, and, according to local EMS officials, a tree they were cutting fell the wrong way, killing her.

In October, Brian Keith Wilmoth of Wilkesboro was killed while working for Asplundh Co., near Taylorsville in Alexander County. He was there removing trees and debris left in the wake of severe storms.

A graveside service for Ogle is scheduled for Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Mt. Bethel Moravian Church Cemetery. The family will receive friends at Moody Funeral Home in Mount Airy from 10 a.m. until time to leave for the service.

By Bill Colvard

Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.

Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.