Man crushed by tree and burned - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Man crushed by tree and burned

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December 21, 2004

Dougherty County - Friends and family are mourning after a bizarre and deadly accident.

Forty-seven-year-old Reggie Barnnett was crushed by a tree and then burned beyond recognition. He was cutting down a tree behind his girlfriend's house on Hardup Road in Dougherty County.

Investigators believe the strap that connected the pick-up truck to the tree snapped, causing a chain reaction of bad luck.

His friend, Gerry Whearry, says, "That grief process and something this tragic and this sudden is hard to take."

It was a sudden and bizarre accident. He was cutting a tree for firewood. Whearry says, "H was doing it for his father, who is getting older, to save his father from doing it."

He was driving his father's truck when the tree he was pulling fell. Whearry adds, "It just fell in the wrong direction."

Reggie was trapped and alone. The truck's engine overheated, catching the grass on fire and then the truck. Reggie was burned beyond recognition. Dougherty County Police Chief Don Cheek explains, "The vehicle is completely burned, the cab crushed in."

Crushing the lives of many. His girlfriend of five years, collapsed to the ground after hearing the news. They had plans to get married. Whearry says, "Very loving couple, in fact, they went on a vacation this Thanksgiving and said it was the best one they had."

Reggie will be missed. He adds, "Reggie was fun loving, always had a smile on his face, big guy, a gentle giant, you know."

A gentle giant killed by a tree that investigators say was only 12 inches in diameter. They believe he died before the truck caught fire.

Friends say Reggie was an associate pastor at Hines Memorial and also worked with the youth group.

posted at 10:50PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com