88-year-old woman fatally struck by falling tree in Rockland County during nor'easter

Marcus Solis Image
Thursday, March 8, 2018
88-year-old woman fatally struck by falling tree in Rockland County during nor'easter
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Marcus Solis reports on the fatal nor'easter incident in Suffern.

SUFFERN, New York (WABC) -- An 88-year-old Rockland County woman was fatally struck by a falling tree during Wednesday's nor'easter, officials said.

Barbara Suleski was struck around 5 p.m. in her yard on Hillside Avenue in Suffern. She was reportedly shoveling in front of her house at the time and was waiting to meet the plow operator who was coming to clear out her driveway.

She was hit in the head and suffered serious injuries.

When emergency responders arrived on the scene, two pedestrians were trying to help her. Live electrical lines that fell near the scene complicated rescue efforts.

"We're trying to move her over, and while we were there another tree snapped and some more wires came down on the other side so now we're thinking how we're going to get her out of here," said Suffern Poilce Chief Clark Osborn. "So it really turned into a catastrophe, very serious."

Suleski was rushed to Good Samaritan Hospital, where she later died.

Grieving relatives gathered at the home Thursday, walking past the fallen tree limbs to get inside.

Neighbors say Suleski lived alone and was always tending to her yard, and her daughter said she was a strong, active woman.

"Loved the outdoors and wildlife, and she hiked," Nancy Williamson said. "She was athletic. She used to play softball for Avon. She just was a great lady."

She says she's not surprised her mother was out shoveling.

"She was outside in the weather, she just had to be outside," said Williamson. "She was waiting for the snow plow guy to come and she figured she was gonna meet him."

The active senior had only recently stopped hiking after undergoing knee replacement surgery.

Officials said the investigation is ongoing.


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