Tree falls and traps person walking dog in Wilmette

Kathy Routliffe
kroutliffe@pioneerlocal.com | @pioneer_kathy
Aug. 11 11:20 a.m.

A 44-year-old woman out walking her dog shortly early Monday morning in northeast Wilmette apparently escaped serious injury when a rot-weakened tree crashed to earth, temporarily trapping her underneath it.

The incident took place shortly before 8 a.m., at the intersection of 5th Street and Greenleaf Avenue, a block north and west of the CTA Linden Station, Wilmette Deputy Chief Mike McGreal said.

The tree, an oak that Wilmette forester John Kemppainen estimated to be 100-120 years old, was on private property on the southwest corner, but toppled over onto the sidewalk and street. When it fell, it also collided with a large limb from another nearby tree, and brought that limb to the ground as well, police reported.

“I can’t imagine how loud it must have been when it came down,” McGreal said.

Police and bystanders on the scene were able to help the woman extricate herself from under the heavy foliage by the time fire department paramedics arrived, Police Commander Patrick Collins said Monday. Paramedics assessed the woman and took her to Evanston Hospital for further treatment, McGreal said.

The dog was uninjured as well, according to Fire Dept. Lt. Robert Brill. Police said a neighbor was caring for it.

According to fire officials Kemppainen’s inspection showed that the tree had extensive internal rot, causing a hidden hollow in the tree. Moderate rain and mild winds were probably contributing factors, fire officials said.

The area was blocked off until village public works crews could remove he tree, police said.

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