Large tree crashes down onto vehicle on Detroit’s west side

‘Luckily, by the grace of God, I was not inside the truck’

Tree comes crashing down onto SUV on Detroit's west side

DETROIT – An old, dead ash tree has worried people in one Detroit neighborhood for years.

They’ve filed multiple complaints, but nothing has been done. The tree finally got the city’s attention Friday when it came down onto a parked vehicle.

The massive tree limb that fell has been hauled away by the Detroit’s forestry service, but the rest of the dead tree remains, located near the intersection of Prest Street and Greenfield Road.

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A woman who lives next to the home had her SUV parked in her driveway. She luckily was not inside the vehicle when it fell.

“We thought it was like glass or something, I don’t know. It scared all of us because the garbage people were here at the same time,” said Ashley McNeil-Ballard. “So the noise, all together, we were just confused what was going on.”

The glass breaking they heard was McNeil-Ballard’s windshield. She hadn’t lived at the home in a while as contractors worked on it. McNeil-Ballard had stopped by to check on the progress and was inside the house when it happened.

“Luckily, by the grace of God, I was not inside the truck,” McNeil-Ballard said.

“I was shocked. I knew it was going to fall,” said neighbor Samella Smith. “I thought it was going to fall on my house or a kid or whatever, a kid going down the street because school was in session.”

Residents had called the city’s forestry department and a crew came out, pulled the limb from the vehicle, but left the tree standing.

Smith said she’s frustrated because she had been calling the city repeatedly for the past year.

“I pay my taxes and they’re paid on time and the only thing I wanted them to do was take down a tree,” Smith said. “It was dead.”

“I’m scared the tree will continue to keep breaking,” McNeil-Ballard said.

When reached for comment, the Detroit city officials told Local 4 the tree is on a list for removal, but the city is short staffed due to COVID.

The city has taken down 20,000 dead trees in the last five years -- as many as 5,000 per year. However, pace has been slower due to COVID.

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About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.