Sandra Mazuera’s Memorial Day picnic with friends took an unexpected turn this year when a light breeze resulted in an injury that landed her in the hospital.
The 38-year-old Chicagoan was cleaning up her picnic at Lunt Beach in Loyola Park when a 15-pound tree branch slammed into her head.
“I [heard] a little creaking sound of wood,” Mazuera said. “I just fell to the ground with this branch. I didn’t expect to be conscious.
Mazuera was taken to Evanston Hospital by ambulance. The doctors put three staples on him to close the wound on his head.
“The worst was really the neck pain, the stiffness,” Mazuera said. “What if that branch lands on a child or an elderly person? They may not have succeeded. »
In a statement, the Chicago Park District told NBC 5 that they had attempted to contact her. At this time, Mazuera is not seeking legal action but wants to share her story so others can be aware of the “hidden danger” in their yards and parks.
Chris Kingzette, a certified arborist from Davey Tree in Burr Ridge says to look for vertical and horizontal cracks around connection points on tree limbs.
“Look for broken branches; look for things that just hang down,” Kingzette said. “Sometimes the parts of the tree that fail at this time may have already broken free before that time.”
Kingzette says fungi at the base of a tree can indicate signs of decay and therefore weakness.
You should also look for deep cavities which could mean the tree is dying or diseased.
The Chicago Park District says it performs regular maintenance on its more than 250,000 trees across the city; this includes the removal of dead or diseased trees, as needed.
Anyone can report concerns to the Park District in person or by calling the city at 311.