A Brooklyn man was seriously injured yesterday after he was crushed by a falling tree branch in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The victim, 43-year-old Wayne Knight, was walking along MacDonough Street on Tuesday afternoon when he was suddenly struck by the detached branch.
“I just watched as the tree just cracked in half and fell on top of him,” Shay Wilson, told The Post. Wilson had been speaking with Knight just moments before the branch broke free, and ran over immediately after the incident. “He didn’t scream; he was totally quiet. He was knocked unconscious,” Wilson said. “I didn’t know if he was dead or not.”
Police and EMT workers were forced to cut the branch in order to free Knight, who was then taken to Brookdale Hospital. Knight's brother tells the Daily News he's on a respirator and still unconscious.
According to The Post, the tree in question was partially removed by the city, leaving only the trunk and several unsteady branches. Of course, this is not the first time that falling tree limbs have seriously injured or killed pedestrians. In 2013 and 2012 the city paid millions in settlements to several victims severely hurt or killed by detached branches.
If you are concerned about a tree in your neighborhood, make sure to check the city guidelines before contacting 311. According to NYC.gov:
The City removes street trees and large branches that have fallen to the ground in front of houses, in parks, and in other public spaces. The City also removes trees or branches that are blocking sidewalks or streets, as well as branches that are cracked or hanging and about to fall. Removal may be delayed during a storm if the branches are not blocking streets or sidewalks. The City is not responsible for any non-City tree that falls on private property, any small non-City tree branch that falls on private property, or any tree that is on private property.
Once a complaint is filed, a representative is sent out to evaluate thee tree in question, and make a decision about its removal. However, in many areas like Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn—a neighborhood hit hard by Hurricane Sandy—dead trees shed branches on a pretty regular basis.