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Pennsylvania Man Dies in “Tragic” Tombstone Accident: Cops

Emergency Responders Arrive at Cemetery Tragedy 0:46

A 74-year-old man was killed when his mother-in-law’s tombstone fell on top of him while he was decorating the grave, police in Pennyslvania said.

Police said the "tragic accident" occurred at about 10 a.m. Monday at Saint Joseph's cemetery in Throop, Pennsylvania. Stephen Woytack, 74, was kneeling in front of the headstone while his wife, Lucy, was behind it hanging a cross.

Cemetery caretaker Ed Kubilus told NBC affiliate WBRE he was nearby and rushed to help after the stone toppled over and fell on Woytack’s legs and stomach. Woytack died at the scene. Kubilus, who estimated the stone weighed between 500 and 600 pounds, said the Woytack's had an annual tradition of decorating family graves.

"Every year, every year they are here. Two or three times a year also," Kubilus told WBRE. "They'll plant flowers here once the spring comes."

Throop Police Department patrolman Scott Romanchick told NBC News that the incident was considered an accident because conversations with groundskeepers indicate that time and cold weather can cause adhesive holding headstones in place to give way.

“Stones are known to tip over occasionally,” Romanchick said.

— Shamar Walters