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Developer dies when tree falls

A retired Appling developer who was involved in many McDuffie County properties died May 17 in a construction accident.

Arthur Grimaud, 70, of White Oak Road, died when a tree fell on him as he cleared an area behind his home.

Grimaud's wife, Karla, told police that he was nearly a mile behind their house using a front-end loader to clear trees to build a road, Columbia County Deputy Coroner Harriett Garrison said.

He was late for dinner and didn't answer his cell phone. Garrison said Karla and a neighbor went looking for Grimaud and found him in the cab of the front-end loader with a tree across his chest.

It appeared that Grimaud was pushing several trees into a pile when a 45-to-50-foot-tall tree went over the bucket of the machine and into the open cab, Garrison said.

The tree crushed Grimaud's chest and abdomen. Garrison pronounced him dead at the scene about 9:20 p.m.

"It was not unusual for him to work by himself on his property," Garrison said. Grimaud was a very experienced heavy equipment operator.

A graveside service was held Friday at White Oak United Methodist Church.

Web posted on Thursday, May 26, 2011

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