Polk school crossing guard falls out of tree, dies

Polk school crossing guard falls out of tree, dies

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POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

A school crossing guard trimming trees at a church died Saturday after falling more than 20 feet from a tree, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.

At about 8 a.m., Stephen Pederson, 66, of Lakeland was trimming trees at All Faith Baptist Church, a task he'd volunteered to do several times.

According to witnesses, Pederson was using an electric saw. When a trimmed limb hit a power line, cutting power to the saw, Pederson began descending the tree with his equipment. Pederson, who had removed a safety harness, appeared to lose his footing and fell to the ground, according to the Sheriff's Office.

He was initially conscious and alert and taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center. But Pederson's condition deteriorated, and he died at the hospital, the Sheriff's Office said.

The incident appears to be accidental, but the investigation will remain open pending autopsy results, the agency said.

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