Former co-worker of city employee killed in crash says it’s a dangerous job


A man loved by his family, friends, and co-workers was killed while on the job. Arthur Strudwick works for the City of Columbia’s Forestry and Beautification Division.

Arthur Strudwick, 48, was responding to a call of a downed tree the same night Tropical Storm Irma brought severe weather to the Midlands. Unfortunately, he never made it to the scene. On the way there, he lost control of his car and struck a tree.

Now, a former co-worker is speaking out about a job he says is more dangerous than you may think.

This week, severe weather brought on by Hurricane turned Tropical Storm Irma took out power, flooded roadways, and knocked down trees. Strudwick was an assistant superintendent with the City of Columbia’s Forestry and Beautification Division.

He was on the job responding to a call of a downed tree just one day after the storm, but on the way, he lost control of his vehicle and struck a tree near the 5400 block of Farrow Road.

According to the police report, he was taken to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Tim Rushman is a former co-worker of Strudwick. Rushman worked for the city for 28 years before retiring in March. He says several of those years he worked alongside Arthur.

“He seemed to me to be a great family guy, always talking about his kids,” Rushman said. “He and I shared an office for a number of years. We worked together as a team. I thought we did a really good job together.”

The two kept in touch even after Rushman’s retirement.

“Our last conversation was probably three weeks ago. We were talking about, when things slow down, trying to get together and have lunch together,” says Rushman.

The two would never make it to lunch after Strudwick’s unexpected death Monday. Rushman says you may not think of the city’s Forestry Division as first responders, but it is.

“Could have been any of those guys,” Rushman said. Those folks in forestry do a dangerous job. Storms and anything like that – while other people are looking for cover, they’re working in it.”

Through the challenges of work, Rushman says Strudwick was kind and one of the most helpful co-workers he’s ever had.

“I don’t think he would want people to fret over him. I know he’s going to be greatly missed but I think he would want people to remember the good things that he did and the good times with him no the tragedy and the bad things that happened to him,” Rushman said.

Flags were flown at half-staff at all city buildings in Strudwick’s memory.

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