Trees Have City Out on a Limb

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There was no wind, no storm, not a cloud in the sky on July 1. Lee Tamayo was sitting in her car in front of her house waiting for her sister.

"All of a sudden something came crashing down," said Tamayo. "So I didn't know what it was. I had no idea. But for some reason I grabbed the top of my head. I don't know why. I just did and I held my head down so my face was downward and then I looked out to my left and this tree was all over me and it had the entire car just covered and I started to scream."

A police officer happened by and removed her from the car.

"I just don't have the words for it, but I just give God all the praise," said Tamayo. "It just wasn't my time."

The insurance company declared her car a total loss. Tamayo had called Meridian City Hall several times in recent months, warning the tree was dangerous and might fall. Ken Storms, the city's chief administrative officer said the city has 196 trees on a "dangerous tree" list.

"We have one tree crew and that tree crew is limited in its ability to get to certain trees because of the height of our bucket truck, so we also try to put $40,000 in the budget each year to contract out tree cuttings," said Storms.

The city's arborist, Kevin Locke, adds that tree cutting is expensive.

"Just a rough estimate, $1,500 to $2,000 for these trees that we're dealing with now. The smaller trees, it may be $800 to $1,000 if they can go out and remove." Lee Tamayo says she's grateful the city got to this one before it injured someone.