2012-08-02 / Front Page

Tignall tree-cutting accident kills tree service owner, injures helper


Tree service owner Michael Tanner was killed and employee Ben Combs was injured in this tree-cutting accident Thursday in Tignall. Tree service owner Michael Tanner was killed and employee Ben Combs was injured in this tree-cutting accident Thursday in Tignall. A Wilkes County tree service owner was killed and a second man was badly injured last Thursday when their truck-mounted cherrypicker overturned in Tignall.

Michael A. Tanner, 45, owner of Tanner Tree Service, was killed in the accident, and Benjamin Combs, 28, was seriously injured while they were cutting down a dead pine tree on Church Street in Tignall, Wilkes County Sheriff Mark Moore said.

The men were using a 72-footreach bucket some 30 feet off the ground, he said, when the truck became unstable and began to overturn. The heavy elbow of the bucket’s arm drove into the ground, catapulting the two men from the bucket and into a ditch across Church Street. The truck’s stability outriggers did not appear to have been used, the sheriff said.

Tanner was found to be deceased at the scene, and Combs was transported to the trauma center at Georgia Health Sciences University by air ambulance, where he underwent surgery for multiple fractures. He is in stable condition.

Funeral services for Michael Tanner were held Sunday afternoon. Full obituary information is on page 2 of this issue.

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