Battle Ground man dies in logging accident

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

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A Battle Ground man died Wednesday morning in Ridgefield after a 100-foot-tall cedar tree fell on him in a logging accident.

Timothy Ray Morris, 51, died of blunt-force trauma from being crushed by a tree, which was evident from multiple contusions on his back, according to a Clark County Sheriff’s Office case report released Monday.

Homeowner James White hired Morris and his friend Mark Bunker to thin the wooded area on his property in Ridgefield. They started at 6:30 a.m. and were about five hours into the work when the accident occurred.

In the report, Bunker said that Morris was working on a large cedar that had four trees emerging from a single trunk. He had evidently cut down one tree and put a notch in a second rotted tree, when it fell on top of him. Bunker was working on a separate log pile at the time of the incident. When he drove his tractor back to Morris’s area to retrieve more logs, he saw him pinned between two trees and still alive, the report said. He used the tractor to lift the tree off Morris, who was unresponsive and struggling to breathe.

He called 911, turned off the chain saw that was still running and retrieved White. Morris died at 11:35 a.m., a few minutes before medics arrived, according to the report. Clark County deputies and medical examiners went to the residence, 15916 N.W. 41st Ave., to investigate the death.

Morris’s brother, Gary, also an experienced logger, visited the site before the body was removed.

Timothy Morris owned Woodland-based Five Star Logging and Tree Service. He and Bunker, owner of Bunker Hill Construction Inc., had worked together for 15 years.

“He knows better,” Bunker told investigators. “You never stand under a tree you cut.”