Feb. 7 (UPI) — An Oregon man has filed a $9.5 million lawsuit against a property owner and a local county after a rotting, roadside tree fell on his pregnant wife’s car, killing her and their unborn child.
Kristi Leigh Oliver, 30, was driving to work on the morning of March 1, 2016 in Multnomah County when a tree fell on the driver’s side of her car, crushing the vehicle.
Her husband, Jeremy Oliver, says the owners of the property — Mark and Jill Harrington — and Multnomah County are responsible for his wife’s death.
According to the lawsuit, the tree was “visibly rotten to the core” and “presented a significant foreseeable danger of tree failure and substantial risk of falling onto” passing vehicles before the fatal incident.
But the lawsuit also states that the Harringtons tried to get permission to remove the damaged trees before, but Multnomah County officials denied them permits to do so.
Mike Weber was driving behind Kristi Leigh Oliver’s vehicle at the time of the incident and witnessed the tree fall.
“This tree, it just broke off out of nowhere. It looked like it had exploded. But it hit her truck, spun her truck around,” he told KOIN-TV at the time.
Weber regularly drove down that route and said the tree “was clearly dead for years.”
“My wife tells me ‘Don’t drive that back way because there are dead trees all along that road,'” Weber said.
According to The Oregonian, Oliver’s lawsuit is at least the fourth filed in the last two years against the local government for deaths caused by falling trees.