BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Police have identified the golfer who died at one of Mill Creek MetroParks’ courses Saturday morning.
The victim is Brian Constantini, 35, of Boardman.
He and his brother-in-law, 35-year-old Jordan Hardwick, were inside a golf cart when a large tree fell on it.
Boardman firefighters were on the scene in just three minutes but knew they had their hands full when they arrived at Mill Creek Park’s north course Saturday morning.
“Two people in the golf cart. One victim was able to get out of the golf cart and the other one was still kinda pinned underneath the tree inside the golf cart,” said Boardman Assistant Fire Chief Rob John.
It happened on the course’s 17th hole. Because of the weight of the fire trucks, employees used other golf carts to carry crews and their equipment out to the scene.
“We would guesstimate the tree to be somewhere about 20,000 pounds,” John said.
Firefighters said the tree was 36 inches in diameter at its base and over 100 feet tall. It had completely fallen over, roots and all.
While waiting for the coroner to arrive, workers at the course brought a large backhoe out to the hole to try and lift the tree off the cart.
“But the backhoe loader itself couldn’t even pick the tree up. We had to cut all the limbs off the tree to get it down to a trunk — a manageable size that that large loader could even lift that trunk of the tree,” John said.
The one victim initially refused medical treatment at the course. It took nearly two hours to free the other victim.
Constantini was pronounced dead at the scene.
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Investigators said the accident has been the subject of a lot of widespread speculation about the tree that fell, but firefighters say most of those rumors are not true, including stories that the tree was in bad shape prior to the accident.
“Every point that we cut off the tree, there was not rot or anything like that. It appeared to be a perfectly healthy tree,” John said.
According to Aaron Young, executive director of Mill Creek MetroParks, “Throughout the MetroParks, trees that appear dead and pose a risk to park visitors are removed. However, in this case, the tree was alive when it fell.”
“We do not have any reason to believe that this was anything other than a terrible, tragic accident. Our deepest condolences go out to the family,” Young said.