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‘I just started screaming,’ says mother of teen killed after falling into wood chipper

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Gastonia teen killed after being pulled into wood chipper

GASTONIA, N.C. –- A teenager was killed over the weekend after he was pulled into a wood chipper on his first day working at a tree removal business.

Nineteen-year-old Mason Cox was looking for work Saturday when he learned he may be able to help his cousin at Crawford’s Tree and Stump Grinding Service, according to WSOC.

Investigators said the accident happened when Cox was putting tree limbs into the chipper. That’s when the owner of the business, Jon Crawford, heard the machine get bogged down.

Crawford hit the machine’s kill switch and put the machine in reverse, but Cox had been pulled and was killed instantly.

crawford

Crawford Tree Service

Frantic co-workers tried to help, but it was too late.

Neighbors, unaware of what was unfolding, said they at first thought the group had been stung by a swarm of bees.

Crawford suffered a heart attack at the scene and was transported to the hospital.

Investigators ruled the teen’s death an accident and said no foul play was suspected.

‘Vibrant Young Gentleman’ 

Cox’s grandmother and mother told WSOC they are still coming to grips with the tragedy.

“How could this happen to such a vibrant young gentleman,” Alice Neal, Cox’s grandmother, asked.

“I can’t sleep thinking about it,” Neal cried. “Oh my God. The poor baby.”

Mason Cox

Mason Cox

Debra Neal Sisk, Cox’s mother, told the station her son graduated from high school earlier this year and was desperate to find work.

She said when his cousin, who worked at the tree removal business, said someone had called off Saturday, Cox begged him to take him along.

When Sisk heard about the accident, she was overcome with emotion.

“It’s horrifying. I just started screaming,” she said. “It’s kind of like it’s not real yet – or it’s just too amazing to be real.”