Recently in Somerset County, Pa., a 6 year old and an 8 year old riding in a car with their parents were killed by a falling tree. The report stated the tree was ''rotten at the base'' and that is was ''a freak accident.'' These two phrases do not measure up. This was no freak accident to anyone who can think critically and can see that a tree is clearly dead and ready to fall.
Last week, my 19-year-old daughter, a college student and Poland graduate, was traveling down North Lima Road when the same thing happened to her. One more turn of the tires and my daughter would have lost her life, as the tree struck at the juncture of the front hood and the windshield. While she did sustain injuries, it appears they were not life threatening.
A couple of years back, I, too, had an aged tree in my front yard that was the source of much debate in my house, until one day I saw a friend of my neighbors parked in their driveway, my tree overhanging their car. There was a little child in the backseat. That was about the last day for the tree; I was not going to see it injure someone, even though much of the tree was still alive.
The day the tree struck our vehicle, as I tended to my daughter and our crushed SUV, I overheard a village official on site say ''This happens all of the time on this road.'' Does this not beg a question? When are those with trees going to be held accountable for the damage and even death that befalls their negligence?
Thank you to the homeowners, my daughter's boyfriend and the Poland area safety forces who showed care and diligence to our daughter that day. And to the irresponsible homeowner / tree owner who did not bother to even come out of their house that evening, shame on you.