Woman killed by falling tree in Millburn

Josh Einiger Image
Saturday, July 11, 2015
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Josh Einiger reports from Millburn.

MILLBURN, N.J. (WABC) -- Utility crews spent all evening Friday stitching together the power grid on the quiet, two lane rural road through the South Mountain Reservation.

It's the scene of a freak accident that claimed the life of a 50-year-old mother of three as she drove to work.

Susan Niler was driving her Jeep Cherokee on the popular shortcut at the dawn of a clear, cloud free morning, when authorities say that tree toppled right on top of her car.

It's a beautiful place for a ride to work, but markings show where her tires were when the tree came out of nowhere. She might not have even seen it coming.

Rescuers rushed her to Morristown Hospital where doctors were unable to save her life.

It was the latest incident in a string of fallen trees across the Tri-state area.

10 days ago, 21-year-old Michelle Mian of New Milford was crushed when a tree snapped as she walked to her car in her driveway. Police blamed the weather for that tragedy.

But a few days later, it was on a calm and wind free afternoon when a massive tree toppled on two cars in a driveway in Summit. At 200 years old, the tree had rotted almost all the way through.

Thursday, a family of three, including two kids, was driving in Yonkers when a tree landed on their car. They were lucky, Susan Niler was not.

"Is someone maintaining the reservation? That's basically the bottom line," a neighbor said.

But back on Brookside Drive, Fran from Springfield says it's always been a convenient and frankly beautiful country road, but now she'll be changing her routine.

"I can imagine, I don't want to imagine, but now I'm going to think twice driving through the reservation. I may stick to the major roads," Fran said.