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Men admit to dragging tree down highway

6:57 PM, Jun 10, 2011   |    comments
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Video: Raw Video: Tree being dragged down busy street

A Bradford Pear left in the middle of Canton Highway in Forsyth County after two men cut it down from property nearby.

CUMMING, Ga. -- Two men accused of dragging a 25-foot tree down a busy highway admit they had no insurance or license to do tree work.

Late Friday, Cumming police issued criminal warrants against the two men.

Stanley John Hendrix and Ray Solono admit they were wrong for dragging the 25-foot bradford pear onto Canton Highway in Cumming.

"It's wrong to drag a tree down the road," Solono said. "But it would take you an hour to cut it up, cut it up, and throw it in the back of your truck. By that time, you've caused a big ruckus."

Cumming police said the two caused plenty of a ruckus when they drug the tree from the parking lot of Southern Cinema Design onto Canton Highway.

Late Friday, detectives issued warrants charging both men with reckless conduct and criminal damage to property, which is a felony. Hendrix was also charged with obstruction. Police said he lied to officers when he was originally questioned about the incident.

A surveillance camera captured the two dragging the tree behind their pickup truck with a rope.

"They tied a tree to the back of their pickup truck and drug it down one of the busiest highways in our city," said Sgt. Zimbardi. "I've never heard of anyone removing a tree with rope tied to a trailer hitch."

Hendrix and Solono claim they were hired and paid to cut down the tree and remove it. They claim the owner of a convenience store located on an adjoining property gave them permission to do it. The two admit that they never talked to the owner of the property where the tree was located.

"It was kind of humorous until you get to the part where the tree falls down, and they drag it in the middle of the road," said Jared Wallace, manager of Southern Cinema Design. "There are cars zooming by left and right. What if they hit somebody?"

Hendrix and Solono said they were in a hurry to get to Lake Lanier with their girlfriends after they cut down the tree with a chain saw.

"I know I shouldn't have done that," Hendrix said. "We should have cut it up and thrown it in the truck."

"Licensed and insured? No," Solono said. "I ain't no big time company. I ain't got any of that."

The two men said they planned to drag the tree a short distance and cut it up for firewood. The rope behind their truck broke, however, and the men left the tree in the middle of Canton Highway.

They claim they went home to get another chain saw and returned to remove the tree from the road, but by then there were police all around.

"We turned around and went home," Hendrix said. "I know you ain't supposed to drag something up no road."

"It's a serious matter because of the jeopardy to the motoring public," Sgt. Zimbardi said.

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