Witnesses recall moment tree branch fell on man's head while sitting on Brooklyn park bench

Kemberly Richardson Image
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
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Witnesses recalled the moment a man was hit in the head with a falling tree branch while sitting on a park bench in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Kemberly Richardson has the story.

BEDFORD STUYVESANT, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Frightened witnesses recalled the moment a tree branch fell on a man who was sitting on a park bench in Brooklyn Saturday morning.

That man, Jared Richardson, was rushed in critical condition to the hospital, where he later died.

"I heard the cracking of the tree limb as I was coming across the street," said Lonnie, a witness who didn't want his last name used.

Lonnie believes the huge branch was at least two inches around and three to four feet long.

Richardson happened to be sitting on a park bench at Reinaldo Salgado on Monroe Street in Bedford Stuyvesant around 8:15 a.m. Saturday when the branch came crashing down from 40 feet above him.

"I saw a limb come down, and off he went onto the floor," Lonnie said. "I came to try and help him out. He was bleeding all over the place. Eight or nine other people tried to help. Emergency services tried. No one knew what to do."

Ray Tolbert was also there and witnessed the incident unfold.

"You wouldn't think of it happening," he said. "Now I'm more alert. I look up when I walk the parks now, when I'm walking my dog. Nervous, I get nervous now."

Enormous trees cover the entire area, both where kids play and others sit at tables and benches.

Right after what appeared to be a freak accident, crews from the parks department identified several other problem spots with branches on other trees.

"Me and my wife noticed that it was weak also, started looking around at everything, we were nervous," Tolbert said. "And they came out later on that day and yanked one down and cut another down that looked weak."

The parks department says the limb was pruned in July of 2020 and that the tree was found to be in good condition the following month.

Crews did reinspect the same tree Saturday and also found no problems.

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