On Friday, in the windstorm that wreaked havoc on Craig, our 2005 Entervan (a handicap converted Chrysler Town and Country) was struck by one of Yampa Avenue's decorative trees that was part of the downtown renovation project.
This tree was in front of Serendipity's Coffee Shop. At the time of this awful event, my wife was inside the Favorite Things antique store, along with several other people. One of them said, "That tree just fell on your van." At that point, two of the people went out to look at my van (my wife was not one of them because she is handicapped and does not get around well). When they returned to the store, they told her it looked like the fender and hood were dented.
At this point, my wife called 9-1-1 and told the operator that a tree had just blown over and hit her van. The operator said, "Ma'am, there are trees down all over town." My wife said, "Yes, but this one just hit my van and is impeding traffic on Yampa Avenue." The operator then told her someone would be there as soon as possible. Within a minute, a city crew was there removing the tree. They quickly cut it into pieces, loaded it and were gone. In the meantime, my wife called me to let me know what was going on. I told her I would be right down. By the time I go there, the tree and the city crew were gone, and my wife was on the phone with the insurance company. When I walked in (after looking at the van), she gave me the phone so I could give the rest of the information.
As things began to settle down a little, I went out to look at where the tree had been. What I found was a spongy, rotted tree base. At first, I thought I would wait until the police arrived, but they never did. Finally, I called City Hall and said I thought it would be fair if the city would pay my deductible.
They told me they would call Monday morning. That never happened. So Monday afternoon, I went to City Hall with a piece of the rotted tree.
The city clerk agreed with me that the piece of tree was rotted but said that the city was not liable because it was an act of nature, and there was nothing more the city could do.
As I sit writing this letter, I started to think, yes, the wind blowing is an act of nature, but also the dying and rotting is an act of nature.
So, if you have a tree that falls on someone or something, don't worry about it, "it's an act of nature." If you don't want to take care of your trees, they'll die, and the wind will blow, the trees will fall and you won't be liable.
Just be careful where you park!
Milburn L Markle