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Spring Valley tree-cutter named Branch charged in mishap

Leslie Branch, 44, of Spring Valley was charged

Leslie Branch, 44, of Spring Valley was charged with Reckless Endangerment in the second degree after a tree limb he was hired to cut in the Village of Sloatsburg fell onto Route 17, blocking both southbound and northbound lanes. (Nov. 18, 2012) Photo Credit: Provided by Ramapo Police Department

He didn't exactly risk life and limb, but the actions of a tree-removal contractor posed a threat to others Sunday in Sloatsburg, police said.

Leslie Branch, 44, of 85 Fred Hecht Dr. in Spring Valley, faces a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment after a mishap involving a large tree limb that he was removing, Ramapo police said Monday.

At about 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Branch was taking down the limb at 89 Orange Tpke., (Route 17), when it crashed into the roof of a vacant house on the property and slid onto the roadway, blocking the sidewalk and both southbound lanes and one northbound lane of Route 17, police said. It did not hit any vehicles or pedestrians, police added.

Branch had been hired by the home's owner to remove a backyard tree that had been leaning for years, but Branch didn't secure the limb and misjudged the direction it would fall, police said. His actions "created substantial risk of serious physical injury to others," police said.

The homeowner was not charged.

Branch is set to appear in Sloatsburg Village Court on Dec. 19. Further information on his court appearance or legal representation was unavailable Monday, and efforts to reach him were unsuccessful.

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