Man dies after tree falls on him

Published On: Dec 26 2012 09:58:24 AM CST
Updated On: Dec 26 2012 06:29:48 PM CST

Dec. 26, 2012: Storms that blew through on Christmas Day showed how dangerous dead trees can be. Phillip Mena reports.

HOUSTON -

A man died after a tree fell on him on Christmas Day.

The 25-year-old victim got out of his car to move the tree on Eldridge Parkway near Gregson in northwest Harris County when another tree suddenly snapped, falling on him and killing him instantly.

"That could have been me," said Lindsey Joyce, who travels down the road for work every day.

Dale Harvey of Ranch and Home Tree Services said he knows how dangerous trees can be.

"That tree is a dangerous flying missile because the wind will come and snap it off," Harvey said.

Many of the trees that fell along Eldridge Parkway had been killed by last year's drought.

Arborist Brad Phillips said not removing dead trees from your property could cost a person in more than one way.

"From a moral standpoint, people should take their trees (down) if there's any risk at all," Phillips said. "From a legal standpoint, they can't be negligent or they become liable."

Phillips said there are ways to make sure a negligent property owner is held legally responsible.

"If my tree looks precarious to you and you are my neighbor and you're worried that my tree is going to fall on your house, you have to alert me of that in order to prove I'm being negligent," he said. "You send me a certified letter letting me know, 'Hey, your tree is dead. I'm worried it's going to fall on my house.' If my tree then falls on your house, I am financially responsible for that damage."

Tornado touches down in Houston County

In Houston County, National Weather Service meteorologists surveyed damage and confirmed that an EF-3 tornado hit near Pennington. Several buildings were damaged or destroyed.

Frances Lowe and her husband took shelter behind a building, but within minutes, the store was wiped out, windows blown out and their pickup truck was destroyed.

"I told my husband goodbye and that I loved him," said Lowe.

No one was injured.