PD: Man dies after getting caught in wood chipper

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- A landscaper has died after getting caught in a wood chipper, according to the Chandler Police Department.

Police responded to Freeway Chevrolet car dealership near Ray Road and Priest Drive at about 10:15 a.m. Thursday.

Police say the man was part of a small landscaping crew using an industrial-sized wood chipper at the dealership. Phoenix Trim-a-Tree, LLC., confirmed the man was one of their workers.

Witnesses say the victim somehow tripped and fell headfirst into the wood chipper. The Chandler Fire Department confirmed he was decapitated.

"It's the type of wood chipper where the chute end actually will push the debris into the back of the truck so it can handle large branches," Detective Seth Tyler said. "It's extremely powerful."

The victim's own two sons were a part of the landscaping crew, and they had to watch their father die a gruesome death.

"This situation is very terrible, yes," said family member Brenda Zapata. "We're never going to see his smiling face one more time."

Family members said the landscaper had worked for the company for years and had plenty of experience. Investigators said it appears to be a horrible accident.

"He was just a happy, happy man," Zapata said. "He loved his family."