Matthew Renda

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January 12, 2012
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Applegate man dies in woodchipper accident

In what law enforcement officials are calling "a tragic accident," a 50-year-old Applegate man was decapitated in a woodchipper incident early Thursday on the outskirts of Nevada City.

Martin Lara was clearing brush from a residence in the 10000 block of Indian Shack Road around 8:15 a.m., when a rope became tangled in an industrial-sized woodchipper into which Lara was feeding yard debris, officers reported.

The rope became wrapped around Lara's neck and beheaded him before his fellow crew members could assist him, said Nevada County Chief Deputy Coroner Paul Schmidt.

Lara was pronounced dead at the scene. Law enforcement officials initially reported that Lara entered into the woodchipper head first, but Schmidt said he never actually entered the large machine.

"It was a huge chipper capable of processing full-size trees," Sgt. Hap Penaluna of the Nevada County Sheriff's Office said. "It's just a tragic accident."

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda e-mail or (530) 477-4239.

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The Union Updated Jan 12, 2012 08:21PM Published Jan 12, 2012 03:48PM Copyright 2012 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.