2018-01-03 / News

Man killed in harvesting accident

810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com

John Pung John Pung NORTH BRANCH TWP. — A 44-year-old North Branch Township man was killed Saturday after he was pulled into a tow-behind corn picker in a five-acre field on the 4300 block of Slattery Road.

John Pung, 44, was found around 1:19 p.m. by his cousin, Brad Nellenback, who last saw him alive just 45 minutes before he was found. Lapeer County Sheriff’s Dept.

Undersheriff Jeremy Howe said Pung had been towing a PTOdriven New Idea corn picker and gravity wagon behind his Case 2290 tractor at the time of the fatal mishap. He said it appears Pung got off the tractor and reached into the picker for something and his clothing became entangled.

He said it appeared

Pung died of asphyxiation.

The North Branch Township Fire Dept. was dispatched to assist with extrication.

Howe said it was an older machine that had been worked on numerous times. “That’s how these accidents happen,” he said. “People work around them a long time. They get complacent, they reach in for something and their clothes get entangled.”

Howe, whose wife is related to Nellenback, said Pung, “was a hard-working guy who always tried to do his best for his family.” He said along with working a small family farm, Pung was superintendent for Ric-Man Construction where he worked for 24 years.

Howe said Pung’s wife, Jennifer, is seven months pregnant with their first child.

Funeral services for the 1993 North Branch High School graduate are scheduled for Friday (Jan. 5) at North Branch Wesleyan Church, with Pastor Peter Damaska officiating. Burial will follow at St. Elizabeth’s Cemetery in Marlette.

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