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Family Blames Baltimore Co. For Fallen Tree Limb That Crushed Elderly Father

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RODGERS FORGE, Md. (WJZ)—A man continues to fight for his life after a tree limb came crashing down, crushing him underneath its weight.

Rochelle Ritchie has more on what is being done now to protect others.

The family says this accident could have been avoided if their requests to have the trees cut down were taken seriously by the Baltimore County.

A broken tree limb in the Rodgers Forge neighborhood nearly claimed the life of 70-year-old Don Ahern.

“Broke his fibula, broke five ribs and crushed his pelvis,” said Chris Ahern.

Chris Ahern says two weeks ago his father left his home of 35 years on Dumbarton Road to move his wife’s car after he heard a loud crack from a breaking tree limb.

“As soon as he walked out, the tree limb gave way and came down on him, crushed him,” Chris Ahern said.

His father remains in the hospital, and he prepares to take on Baltimore County.

“I feel the county is responsible. This is on county property,” Chris Ahern said.

Baltimore County Public Works director Edward Adams says it’s not solely their responsibility to check the trees unless they have complaints from residents.

“These trees were probably never inspected unless someone called and asked us to take a look at it,” Adams said.

Ahern claims his family did make complaints to the county about the trees and they went ignored.

“There have been requests from my parents, from other neighbors, to have these limbs cut down before they hurt somebody and unfortunately that person was my father,” Chris Ahern said.

The county argues their arborist found nothing wrong after the accident.

“He made a determination that it was a healthy tree and the branch that broke was a healthy branch,” Adams said.

A much different conclusion than what the family’s arborist came up with.

“You can see here it’s got excess damage due to ants,” Ahern’s arborist said. “You can see how weak it got, and it couldn’t support the rest of the weight and then boom!”

The family says they have sought legal counsel in order to ensure people are safe.

“I’d hate to see an innocent kid get hit by a falling limb,” Chris Ahern said.

As the legal battle begins, Chris Ahern’s father continues to fight for a full recovery.

The public works department is checking to see if complaints about the trees were received prior to this incident.

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