My fall


Nov 3, 2007
Charlottesville VA
Ok so 2019 was a bad year for me all around. Started with the site I dump my wood where I had been operating out of for 15 years which is our local mulch place handed over the operation to their niece. Niece emails me in February and notifies me that my lease is up at the end of the month and we need to vacate by the end of the month. I had probably 100 tons of wood there as the year prior we had no snow so wasn't able to burn so I had 2 years worth of wood. Very stressful to say the least. come June my house got hit by lightening whilst I was out moving the crane for the next days job. Woody my son called me to tell me our house was on fire. I rushed home (had to ride my bicycle to where I knew my wife car was) then drove back. We had 2 kids 2 cats and 4 dogs at home alone . As I approached my house the cops had the road closed so I drove up the left lane honking my horn and flashing my lights to alert cops of my approach. I slowed down as I got to the cop and told him it was my house on fire and kept on driving past him. Luckily the kids had done great and had done like we had taught them and had got most the animals out and had gone to the neighbors. Cop decided as I had disobeyed his instructions to stop I warranted a reckless ticket which since I have a cdl would revoke my license. 2 months later we were leaving for work in the morning in all the trucks when my new neighbor comes out and starts filming us with his iPad ?? This guy is old, 75ish and I had always done a ton of free work for him. graded his entire back yard, removed trees on and on. Anyway that evening I go over and ask him whats up. He informs me that me running a business out of my property (which I had done for 15 years) was devaluing his house. He then tells me if I don't want the "authorities" involved I need to buy his house for $520K. He bought the place for $325K !! I told him the next day I would move all my gear elsewhere but I wouldn't be buying his house. The next day the cops show up and say they had received a call saying I assaulted my neighbor and knocked him down. Bear in mind the guys has no injuries or witnesses. He also called the DEQ the county and the EPA.
Anyways the next day we had a big dead oak to take down and it had been really hot all week and I knew my guys were tired so I decided I would climb as Im the fittest on the job. Half way through the job I was at 78' tied into the ball and set the chain for a pick and told the Op to cable up to tighten the chain. as he cabled up I pulled my hitch to stay at the same spot. As soon as I pulled my hitch I started falling. Funny thing is the first thought I had was "this isn't survivable" as I was near the boom head so figured about 90'. I wasn't scared just resigned. I remember feeling a big impact on my ass then I came round still in the tree. Luckily 28' below where I fell I straddled a limb with my legs and fell backwards onto it. I lost consciousness for about 5 mins the guys say. When I came round they were trying to set a line to rescue me. I sat up on the limb and looked in disbelief at my climbing system. My HH was fine but there was no stopper knot at the end of my rope. I have a steel ring on my bridge and I always feed the end of my rope though ring and tie a double overhand stopper knot. I informed the guys I would tie in and come down. I tied in but then discovered I couldn't lift my legs to get off of the branch . Shit. At that point the crane op decides to try lowering the ball, we have a Grabik chain system that has 2 chains on it that can be adjusted to any length. The chain I had set was adjusted to 2' long but luckily as he cabled down the adjuster came undone and with that 15' the other 15' chain just reached me. He then cabled up and took me to first chain which I was able to undo so he could cable me down.

OK gotta go to work so will finish later
Holy shit

I appreciate your telling us how the accident happened so others can try to avoid similar
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First paragraph, people just suck.

:OFinish later? Are you kidding, you cant leave us hanging like that:\:. (no pun intended)

I can only believe that if you are headed to work, you must be healing up.

Sheeze and we thought 2020 was bad.
Paul, man that sounds like the worlds toughest week.

Still can’t quite understand what happened though. Glad you’re still here to tell the tale mind.
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  • #13
So back home.

so got back on the ground and the homeowner wanted to call 911. I told him no way, we can get me to the hospital. Last thing I needed was osha being called! Anyways I ended up with 3 broken vertebrae 4 broken ribs and a prolapsed rectum which was no fun. After a night in hospital I grilled the doctor about what they were going to do and he informed me that the spine didn’t need surgery but they wanted to keep me in for 3-4 days for observation. I told him hell no im leaving now. He said absolutely not, dude I’m not arrested so I’m free to go. He told me if he didn’t discharge me my insurance wouldn’t pay for the visit. I told him if he wanted to bankrupt me have at it. He finally said that he needed to do one more scan, I had to stand and have an X-ray done of my spine to make sure none of my discs were ruptured, he said this and smirked at a nurse as I assume he figured I couldn’t do it. I did and left right after.

other than scans the only thing they did was have 2 nurses push my intestines back into my asshole, really wasn’t as sexy as I would have imagined an interaction with 2 nurses to be

got home and proceeded to drink beer and smoke weed like a fiend. Funny thing about weed is it doesn’t dull the pain but you just don’t give a shit anymore! The next morning I woke up and couldn’t take a breath, I thought my lungs had collapsed and man I was scared as shit for a few seconds until I began to take small gasps .

I fell on a Thursday and on Monday I was out showing the guys what to do on jobs. Was supposed to be on bed rest for 6 weeks. 2 weeks later the guys would pick me up with the wheel loader to help me get in the crane so I could operate it. I truly believe the only way you can heal from stuff like that is to get active as soon as possible to keep the blood flowing to enable healing .
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Took me 2 weeks to figure out what went wrong. I always terminate my climbing line by putting the end through a steel ring on my rope bridge and tying a double over hand stopper knot. I knew that somehow pulling my hitch had started the fall. Turns out that I think I put the rope through the ring but did the 2 loops around the rope before the ring not after so as it was loaded instead of tightening the knot it pulled it apart. I guess the tail of the rope was pinched between the 2 carabiners on my bridge so when I pulled on the Hh it unpinched the rope and allowed the knot to untie

I now have a splice on the end of my rope!


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Wudja do about moving your equipment and the dump site and the driving charge?
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And the neighbor's case against you??
That is a very sore point. One of the many reasons I’m selling the business. The case kept getting postponed. Finally we get a court date of the Friday before Xmas . My own lawyer calls me up and said he worked very hard and got me a plea deal for disturbing the peace. I said no way I didn’t do anything so why would I do that. He flat out told me that no judge in Charlottesville was going to believe a tree guy over a UVA graduate so if I didn’t take the plea I would spend Christmas in jail for assault. I still wouldn’t agree and he said I was free to get another lawyer. I talked to a bunch of people and they all agreed it was better to go with the plea. It really effected me. I have been in business for 25 years and have never had any litigation, always tried to be the cheapest guy in town to help people out. Have been living here for 15 years and get on great with all my neighbors and had testimonials from 4 neighbors saying what a great guy I am and this 75 year old ex stock broker decides to black mail me into buying his house and I got hosed. Really opened my eyes to how little justice there is here which in part is why I’m trying to get out of the US

the cop in the reckless charge lied under oath and I caught him in the lie. Really you are going to purger yourself over a traffic ticket?

there are no morals anymore. I still work with verbal agreements and a handshakes and have been sorely let down in the last few years. Time to get out
I was hoping the end of that story was left out because it was an obvious win for you. :(

Where would you go? I wouldn't mind leaving the US, but I tend to think most other places are worse. It is hard or impossible to find an ideal location in my opinion.
Really opened my eyes to how little justice there is here which in part is why I’m trying to get out of the US

Wherever you go, there's going to be people. Isn't the US justice system flawed but overall the best in the world?