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Deliveryman Critically Hurt By Falling Tree In Brooklyn

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A deliveryman was critically injured in Brooklyn on Monday when he was struck by a large tree being removed by the Parks and Recreation Department, authorities said.

The man was riding by on his bicycle around 1 p.m. when the tree fell into the street at Pioneer and Richards streets next to Coffey Park in Red Hook, CBS2's Tracee Carrasco reported.

The 20-year-old's mangled bicycle was still in the middle of the street, surrounded by scattered bags of food from Ling Gee, a nearby restaurant, at 5 p.m. as investigators continued to work.

According to the Parks Department, the tree was being pruned by an outside contractor as part of post-Superstorm Sandy remove-and-replace work. The department says it's investigating what it calls an "unfortunate incident."

Sources told CBS2 that the deliveryman was told to stop, but he ignored the verbal warning and peddled into the work area.

The protocol is to have a worker on site to flag pedestrians and cyclists, Silverman reported. The Parks Department is looking into whether that was the case.

Protocol also includes cones and caution tape. On Monday night, the Parks Department was trying to determine if protocol was followed. Witnesses said it wasn't enough.

"They didn't block nothing," Julio Aviles said.

Residents say the work has been going on for several days.

"They've been doing this for a good four to five days," said Greg Archer, a friend of the victim's. " ... But there's no barricades for anybody to not go through there. So I can see if it's barricades for people not to go through there, but there's no barricades. So anybody's accessible to walk through there, and this situation is going to happen."

A woman who lives nearby said she heard it.

"A boom," she described to WCBS 880's Alex Silverman. "You know, like you would hear an egg splatter, but very loud. Something like that. Really, really traumatic."

Carrasco was told the man works at a nearby Chinese food restaurant. He was rushed to Methodist Hospital.

The Parks Department said there was no further immediate danger to the public, and that they were conducting a thorough investigation of the incident. The contractor responsible for the work has been suspended.

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