Tree Trimmer Crushed to Death by Falling Palm

The incident happened while the man and his crew worked on a yard at a home in El Cajon

A San Diego man working to remove a large date palm from a yard at a home in El Cajon was crushed to death when the tree became unstable and accidentally fell on him, crushing him underneath, authorities confirmed.

The San Diego County Medical Examiner identified the man as Bernardo Teran, 49.

The deadly incident happened Wednesday around 10:30 a.m. at a residence in the 1500-block of Falda Del Cerro Ct.

Leonard Villarreal with the San Miguel Fire District said the victim – who owned a tree trimming company – was working in the yard with a crew of five people, including his two sons and two other employees.

The group was attempting to remove an 18- to 20-foot-tall date palm tree from the yard. They expected the large tree to fall onto a designated path to the ground, but Villarreal said some sort of mishap occurred and the tree ended up falling on the Teran, killing him.

According to a report released by the medical examiner’s office, after one of the employees in the group cut the tree, it became unstable and then suddenly collapsed on top of Teran, who became partially pinned under the tree. His sons and employees were able to remove him from under the palm and one of his sons called 911.

Emergency crews rushed to the work site, but the father was pronounced dead at the scene, Villarreal said. The Medical Examiner was called out to recover the body. Villarreal said investigators from Cal/OSHA were also called to the scene to determine exactly how the fatal accident happened.

Teran is survived by his wife and children.

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