Criminal Charges Filed in Tree Trimming Death

President, CFO and COO of Three Frogs, Inc. face criminal charges in fatal tree trimming investigation

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Five months after a man was killed trimming trees, his employer is facing criminal charges. NBC 7's Matt Rascon has the details.

    Three men face criminal charges after investigators look into a fatal tree trimming incident in La Mesa five months ago.

    Joshua Pudsey, 42, was trimming trees using a large cherry picker outside the La Mesa home of his employer on November 12 when a large branch from a 60-foot eucalyptus tree fell on him, crushing his head.

    Company Cited After Man's Tree Trimming Death

    [DGO] Company Cited After Man's Tree Trimming Death
    Joshua Pudsey, 42, was killed when a large branch fell on him while trimming trees outside his employer’s home in November 2013. Investigators have determined Pudsey didn’t have enough training to be doing that trimming job. His mother says he was expecting a child at the time of his death. NBC 7’s Candice Nguyen reports.

    Just days after Pudsey's employer, Three Frogs, Inc., was cited by Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), better known as Cal/OSHA, prosecutors with the San Diego County District Attorney's Office announced criminal charges have been filed in the case.

    David Scot Wolf, 48, is president of the La Mesa-based business that purchases, renovates and resells residential properties.

    The DA's office said Wolf (pictured right) faces five criminal counts including two allegations of OSHA violations. If convicted of all charges, he faces a maximum sentence of 6 years, 6 months.

    “Our focus is still on the family and their loss and our condolences go out to them," Wolf told NBC 7 Thursday. "We are working with attorneys to resolve these and can’t make any further comment.”

    The company's Chief Operating Officer John Murphy, 36, and Chief Financial Officer Jonathan D. Cox, 34, each face tax charges in connection with the investigation. If convicted of all charges, Murphy and Cox face a maximum sentence of 4 years, 8 months, prosecutors said.

    Cal/OSHA found that neither Pudsey nor his co-workers had "the experience or training needed to safely cut down a tree of that size."

    The agency said the company didn't bring in a qualified tree worker to supervise the project, did not train Pudsey or his co-workers on how to use the aerial lift they were using to trim the tree and did not provide eye protection or a harness.

    The company was also named in the criminal case and faces $1.5 million in fines. Under the proposed Cal/OSHA penalties, the business must pay $91,865 in fines.