DPW worker killed while removing tree in Saddle River park

SADDLE RIVER, New Jersey (WABC) -- A Bergen County employee died after he was struck by a falling tree in a New Jersey park Thursday afternoon.

County Executive Jim Tedesco said the Department of Public Works employee was working in Saddle River Park when the accident happened around 5:15 p.m.

Thomas Epper, 48, was removing a tree that had partially fallen into the Saddle River. As he was cutting it, the root gave way. He fell into the river, then was struck by the tree.

Epper was taken to Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, where he later died.

"Yesterday, our Bergen County family suffered a tragic loss," Tedesco said in a statement. "Thomas Epper, 48, a two-year heavy equipment operator in our Department of Public Works Mosquito Division, was fatally injured while performing routine tree-clearing in the Saddle River in Saddle River, New Jersey. The Bergen County family mourns with the Epper family. I want to thank the first responders for their heroic actions together with the work crew that was present at the time. Please join us in keeping the Epper family in your prayers and thoughts."

* More New Jersey news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
Copyright © 2021 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.