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Airway Heights prisoner killed by falling tree

An Airway Heights prisoner who died while clearing state land in Stevens County last week was hit by a falling tree, the Stevens County coroner said Friday.

Daniel J. Hall, 47, had been serving a sentence for drug and auto theft convictions since January 2011, according to the state Department of Corrections.

Coroner Patti Hancock said Friday that Hall died on Oct. 17 of skull fractures caused by a tree falling on his head. She said it appeared the incident was an accident.

The tree “was burned at the stump and it just fell. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Hancock said.

Hall was the second Airway Heights inmate to die clearing land owned by the Washington Department of Natural Resources in Stevens County. Last October, 22-year-old Danny R. Bergeson was electrocuted cutting a tree near a power line on DNR land.

A DNR spokesman said last week that it’s common for prison crews to work on DNR property, but declined to provide details surrounding the latest accident.

Hall was a minimum-security inmate who was due to be released in September 2014.


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