COUDERSPORT, Pa. — An Oswayo Valley physical education teacher who served as an officer in the U.S. Army was killed in a tree-removal accident Monday afternoon at the Eulalia Cemetery.
Lance Newton, 50, of Shinglehouse, was the health and phys ed teacher at Oswayo Valley School District, as well as operating Newton Boys Tree Service. He was retired from the Army, where he had earned the rank of major.
On Tuesday, Chief Bryan Phelps of the Coudersport Volunteer Fire Department reported on the department’s Facebook page that the accident happened at 2:50 p.m. Monday along U.S. Route 6 across the street from the fire department.
Phelps explained that a crew from the Shinglehouse company was removing the top of a pine tree, when the large top fell, broke a large limb that was serving as the anchor point and struck a bucket truck the contractor was using.
“The large limb then crashed into the fully-extended arm and bucket, ejecting the operator from the bucket as it collapsed to the ground,” he said.
Phelps said the man operating the bucket died from blunt force trauma. Newton’s identity was later released by the Potter County coroner’s office.
For anyone from the public who witnessed the accident, Dickinson Center will provide free counseling from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday at the Coudersport Senior Center, 161 Route 6 West.
Phelps added, “If you are having issues you can contact their office Monday to Friday at 814-274-8729 or after hours at 1-877-724-7142. This session is open to the public that witnessed or was involved and assisted in giving care.”
A similar event is being organized for first responders, he noted.
Assisting at the scene were Coudersport-based state police, Coudersport Volunteer Ambulance Association medics, Coudersport Borough Police, Portville Truck, I R M Hazmat Mitigation/Response Team, Potter County Coroner Kevin Dusenbury and Potter County Deputy Coroner Doug Estes.