Sunday, December 10, 2023

Youth killed, brother injured in logging accident

Staff Writer | October 19, 2022 1:00 AM

NEWPORT — A 6-year-old died in a logging accident Saturday and his 27-year-old brother was seriously injured, Pend Oreille County officials said.

Chris Bell, 27, was logging near the Wasington-Idaho border in Pend Oreille County, Wash., when he saw a part of a tree trunk rolling toward his younger brother Noah, 6. Chris sprinted over in an effort to save Noah, but Noah was struck by the tree and Chris ended up pinned under the tree. Chris' father Gene had to tow the log off of Chris with his truck before taking both to the hospital.

Pend Oreille County Undersheriff Geoff Rusho said the call came on Oct. 15 near 12:30 p.m. from the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office. While the accident happened in the Pelkie Ridge Road area in Pend Oreille County, because the accident was closer to an Idaho cellphone tower, the call was routed to Bonner Dispatch.

Both were taken to Newport Community Hospital, where Noah was pronounced deceased and Chris was life-flighted to Spokane.

Family friend and fellow Laclede Community Church member Carol Jones organized a GoFundMe page for the family. It can be found at

Chris Bell and his wife, Allison, have four children. While still intubated, he seems to be doing better, Jones said in an update to the fund-raising page.

“Chris had a good day. He was awake a lot and communicated through writing,” she said. “He asked a lot of good questions and seemed more himself.”

However, Chris Bell is not yet breathing on his own, Jones said, adding he needs another surgery. If all goes as hoped, she said doctors are telling the family that he will likely remain in the hospital for several weeks, followed by six weeks at a rehab center, and 10 weeks in a wheelchair.

The GoFundMe account has raised $5,960 of its $50,000 goal since it was established Oct. 17.

Jones thanked the community for the outpouring of support. More than a dozen people and organizations have donated funds to help the family prepare their home and vehicles for winter.

“Allison is feeling so blessed by this community of support,” Jones said.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that the tree did not fall incorrectly, but rather that a part of it that was cut after it had been felled is what began rolling down a ridge towards Noah. Chris Bell's sister-in-law, Josie Weeks clarified.

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