MEXICO – A Hartford logger injured on Wednesday morning when the top portion of a pine tree he was cutting behind a home here fell on him remained hospitalized Wednesday evening.

Mike Morris, 31, was listed in good condition at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, according to a nursing supervisor.

Morris and fellow logger Terry Hayford, 31, also of Hartford, were clearing tall pines 75 feet behind the home of Harry and Alice Carver at 281 Swift River Road for the Carvers when the accident happened.

Morris was cutting the tree with a chain saw when the tree’s top snapped off and fell about 80 feet, striking Morris in the head, neck and shoulder as the main part of the tree also fell. The piece that glanced off the hard hat Morris was wearing was four to six inches in diameter.

“He was damn lucky that the top didn’t land square atop his head and break his neck,” police Chief Jim Theriault said Wednesday morning.

“From that distance, clearly, he would have been critically injured,” Med-Care Ambulance Director Dean Milligan added.

A request for a LifeFlight helicopter was canceled after Morris was examined at the scene. Milligan said Morris’ injuries didn’t appear to be life threatening.

“We were told the poor man had a possible broken shoulder and collarbone,” Alice Carver said late Wednesday afternoon. “Poor kid. He’s lucky to be alive. I feel so bad. When I saw him, and that he was alive, I said, ‘Thank God, there was an angel around.’ “

Carver said Hayford, her grandson, and Morris began work on Monday, removing tall pines that were in danger of falling on their neighbor’s home or their home. One of them had previously struck the neighbor’s garage.

Before Morris started cutting, Alice Carver said both men, who are experienced loggers, had checked it for widowmakers – loose limbs or tree tops that can drop from the tree toward the person cutting the tree when it falls.

But while Morris was cutting, her grandson, who was standing by a logging skidder, saw the danger. He tried in vain to signal Morris, who was wearing ear protectors and couldn’t hear.

Hayford drove Morris to the Carver home, where Mexico firefighters, Theriault and Med-Care responded when the accident was reported at 10:40 a.m.

Med-Care took Morris first to Rumford Hospital, then to CMMC.

“He’s a very nice young man, who has a 4-year-old child and one on the way. That’s what’s sad. He’ll probably feel that (injury) all his life,” Alice Carver said.

After Morris was taken to the hospital, another Med-Care ambulance was called for Mexico firefighter Justin Tidswell, 18, of Rumford. Tidswell collapsed on the road for unknown reasons.

“He got woozy and passed out on us,” fire Chief Gary Wentzell said.

Milligan said he wasn’t sure what happened with Tidswell, who may have been overcome by diesel fumes from the ambulance or the sight of Morris screaming in pain on the gurney.

Tidswell dropped to a knee, then recovered, only to collapse 10 minutes later. Wentzell shut the road down for about 10 minutes while Tidswell was loaded and transported.

“He was unresponsive, pale and ashen,” Milligan said.

Tidswell was later treated and released from Rumford Hospital.

Northbound traffic on Swift River Road was diverted onto Route 17. Southbound traffic on the road, which is also Route 120, was delayed.


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