Woman critical after tree falls

August 18, 2008 4:16:32 PM PDT
A woman was seriously injured Sunday when a massive tree fell on top of her in Ridgewood, Queens.The incident happened at approximately 4:35 p.m. at Fresh Pond Road and Myrtle Avenue.

CPR was given when those who rushed to help noticed the woman, identified as Donna Ripkey, was not breathing. She was reportedly unconscious when first responders arrived. The 38-year-old was rushed to Wychoff Hospital in critical condition.

Witnesses say they first heard a crack, and then screaming. They saw the thick trunk breaking off, hitting the woman, who had been walking on the sidewalk with her sister. It struck her right in the head and trapped her under its weight.

Seconds later, Ripkey was bleeding profusely and the sister was screaming for help.

"It was like something out of a movie," witness Eli Kairey said. "I've never seen anything like that before."

Residents believe the brand fell due to vibrations from a passing train. Right near the tracks is a slope with trees neighbors say are rotting. Many say it was an accident waiting to happen.

"So when the train went by, it collapsed," witness Francisco Rodriguez said. "It broke into pieces when it fell."

A children's street fair on Myrtle Avenue had the block closed, meaning dozens of people saw the freak accident.

Some parents say they avoided the area near the tree, saying they were wary of the leaning tree before this happened.

"I'm a paranoid father, so I don't want anything to happen to my son," witness Scott Lopez said. "So I stay away from this area."

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STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Nina Pineda

WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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