Neighbors said James Clements owned the house where he died and had recently moved in.
“The guy that owns the house also owns a lawn company. He’s redoing the house and redoing some stuff in the house and came out to trim the tree,” said Detective Dennis Mangan Prince William police spokesman.
“He trimmed a branch and that branch fell across and hit that top wire there,” Mangan said and pointed to the topmost and smallest of six wires stretched between two wooden poles.
“It’s a little wire, but it’s got 19,220 volts going through it,” Mangan said.
Dominion Virginia Power workmen told Mangan that the man died when electricity traveled from the tree limb and through his chainsaw.
“The branch fell across the wire and he still had the chainsaw in the cut,” Mangan said.
“The guys from Dominion Electric said the way that branch is right now, the electricity just went through it like it was a wire since everything is so wet,” Mangan said
Clements’ business partner in his company called Lawn Solutions was present when Clements died and told Mangan that they are accustomed to such work.
“He was standing over there,” Mangan said and pointed to a yard across the street, “He said they do things like this together. They cut trees and they do lawns and stuff like that.”
While workmen finished up at the accident scene, neighbors stood about on their front porches and in their yards and watched.
Delmis Soriano said her roommate, who doesn’t speak English, was watching television in their basement across the street and heard the chainsaw start and then stop.
“She said she heard him in the tree .. a couple minutes … not more,” Soriano translated from Spanish.
“She said, from the window, she saw him in the tree … stuck. But she said she didn’t know if he was dead or not.”
The ambulance arrived soon after that, Soriano said.
Although Clements was new to the neighborhood, several of his neighbors already knew him.
“I talked to him two times,” said Richard Davis, who lives several houses away.
“He was a nice guy. He’s been up in there remodeling and everything. He already took down a couple of trees in the backyard. I know he knew what he was doing,” Davis said.
Police think Clements’death will be ruled accidental, Mangan said.