Hartsburg man killed by tree collapsed by weight of ice

Monday, December 10, 2007 | 6:22 p.m. CST; updated 1:14 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

HARTSBURG — A 58-year-old Hartsburg man was killed by a falling tree outside his home Sunday on Lake Champetra in southern Boone County.

Ralph Struchtemeyer, a former alderman in Holts Summit, was trying to clear the road of a fallen tree when another tree collapsed under the weight of the ice.

Ice up to an inch thick covered parts of southern Boone County on Sunday.

A Southern District County Fire District crew attempted to resuscitate Struchtemeyer but were unable to revive him. His wife and son were present at the time, Chief Roger Jaeger said.

Nearly half of Hartsburg is still without power, Jaeger said.

Most of Hartsburg is served by AmerenUE, said Vicki Kemna, communications manager for Boone County Electric Cooperative. Of 609 AmerenUE customers, 603 are still without power tonight, according to the company’s Web site at 5 p.m.

Jaeger estimated that “thousands” of trees were down in the area, and half an inch to an inch of ice still coats standing trees.

“The trees are loaded with ice. It’s a completely different world down here,” Jaeger said. “Even without the wind blowing, the trees are still swaying constantly.”

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