Lakeland crossing guard fell to his death trimming trees - WFLA News Channel 8

Lakeland crossing guard fell to his death trimming trees at church

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LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) -

Polk County Sheriff's Office School Crossing Guard, 67-year-old Stephen Pederson of Bonny Shores Drive in Lakeland died Saturday, April 27 after falling over 20 feet from a tree. 

Authorities say at approximately 8:00 a.m., Pederson, a member of the All Faith Baptist Church located at 302 Longfellow Boulevard in Lakeland, had been trimming trees at the church, a task he volunteered to do on several occasions. 

Detectives learned through witness accounts, Pederson had been using an electric saw.  One of the trimmed limbs hit a power line and the power was lost.  Pederson began descending from the tree with his equipment and just as he approached the ladder he had removed a safety harness.  Pederson appeared to lose his footing and fell to the ground. 

Initially conscious and alert, Pederson was transported to Lakeland Regional Medical Center.  Authorities say Pederson's condition continued to deteriorate and he died at the hospital. 

Authorities say Pederson was hired in November 2011 and was assigned to Combee Elementary School.  He crossed students at the intersection of Woodland Avenue and Morgan Combee Road.

Authorities say the incident appears to be accidental, however, the investigation remains open pending autopsy results.

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