A Saugerties man was fatally struck outside his home by a tree branch cut by a Central Hudson contractor on the afternoon of June 5, according to town police. Myles Putman, 60, of 107 Mount Airy Road was hit at 2:04 p.m. while checking on the progress of branch-clearing workers from the Allentown, Pa.-based company Jaflo, which clears brush between power lines for Central Hudson.
“Our preliminary investigation shows that all safety protocols were followed by our contractor,” said Central Hudson press representative John Maserjian. “This is an ongoing investigation and we are cooperating with the local police department.” Maserjian said Putman was notified of the company’s actions that day before workers began.
According to Police Chief Joseph Sinagra, the branch that hit Putman was about five inches in diameter. Diaz paramedics and members of the Centerville/Cedar Grove Fire Department responded to the scene. Putman was airlifted by Lifenet to Albany Medical Center. At approximately 8 p.m., Putman succumbed to his injuries during emergency surgery, Sinagra said.
“We are still currently investigating the incident, but at this time it seems to be an unfortunate accident with no criminal intent,” said Police Chief Sinagra.
Putnam was a planner for the Town of Saugerties through Shuster and Associates and for neighboring Ulster County communities including Esopus, according to Town Supervisor Fred Costello.
“He had that energy and that passion about our community and the communities he worked for,” said Costello. “He was good at finding a balance between economic goals, life goals and preservation goals. I’ve never seen someone balance those things together. Those interests sometimes are competing, and he was very good at making those things mesh. It was comforting to know that we had him as a resource if we had questions.”
Costello said that he had known Putman for over 20 years.
He was also a member of the town’s Historic Preservation Commission; most recently, he and the commission advocated for the historic designation of Saugerties’ Asbury Hamlet.
“Miles was a very kind person,” said Village Historian Marjorie Block. “As far as the [Historical] Society is concerned, he was an expert with maps — he knew every road in Saugerties.”
“I’m not at liberty to discuss what happened yesterday — it would be a bit irresponsible if I commented on anything without the investigation being completed,” said Jaflo Human Resources Director James Sullivan. “On behalf of the company, we’re absolutely devastated by what happened yesterday. There is an active investigation to find out what happened. All the employees in the entire company are quite shock and upset about it.”
Maserjian expressed similar sentiments, conveying condolences to the Putman family.