Update: 17-year-old killed in wood chipper accident in Lehigh County is identified

The Morning Call
The Morning Call

A 17-year-old from Coplay died Tuesday after he was partially pulled into a commercial wood chipper in North Whitehall Township.

Isiah M. Bedocs was pronounced dead at 2:55 p.m. at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, according to a news release from Lehigh County Coroner Daniel A. Buglio.

An autopsy, completed Wednesday morning, showed the cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries, and the manner of death was ruled accidental.

Bedocs was homeschooled but also attended Lehigh Career & Technical Institute, according to Whitehall-Coplay School District Superintendent Robert J. Steckel Jr. School officials planned to send information to parents Wednesday about available counseling services.

“Unfortunately, we’ve shared this information with them already this summer, but we’ll re-share the resources and supports that are available here at the school and throughout the community,” Steckel said.

The accident happened about 1:35 p.m. Tuesday near the 3700 block of Excelsior Road, Buglio said.

State police responded to a report of a person “who had been critically injured while working with a woodchipper,” according to a news release from state police spokesperson Nathan T. Branosky.

Troopers and emergency medical services personnel provided medical assistance before the teen was flown by helicopter to LVH.

The state police’s Bethlehem Criminal Investigation Unit, the Lehigh County coroner’s office, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Stew’s Tire Center in North Whitehall Township are investigating.

According to a 2018 study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine , there were 113 wood chipper-related worker deaths between 1982 and 2016.

Bedocs is the second student from the district to die in less than two weeks.

Mia G. Due, who was going to be a junior at Whitehall High School, was one of two people who died July 31 when a motorcycle crashed into a sport utility vehicle at MacArthur and Mechanicsville roads in Whitehall.

“It’s been a difficult couple of weeks here for our community,” Steckel said. “We’re certainly here to support anyone that’s in need of any kind of help.”

Morning Call reporter Molly Bilinski can be reached at .

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