Weather conditions related to a severe winter storm sweeping the East Coast have indirectly claimed the life of a Georgia postal worker. DeCarlo Allen, 36, was delivering mail on his regular route at the Mystery Valley Golf Club in Lithonia on Saturday at around 12:30 p.m. when a tree fell on the roof of the vehicle directly over where Allen was seated. His postal vehicle then swerved and crashed into another tree.
Eric Jackson with DeKalb County Fire Rescue made an official statement, as reported by WSB-TV.
“Unfortunately that postal worker is deceased, did not make it. And it’s extremely sad, because this just appears to be something that was a freak accident.”
— AJC (@ajc) January 24, 2016
Firefighters believe that high winds in the area contributed to the tree falling and do not suspect that foul play was involved. The portion of the tree that fell was rotted out from the inside. Snow and ice brought on by the winter storm are not believed to have played a part in the accident. No witnesses have been identified as of this time.
Fox 5 DC reports that rescue officials surmise that the victim was probably killed on impact, and that it was just a “freak accident.”
Weather officials predict that high wind conditions in Metro Atlanta due to the winter storm will be much less severe by Sunday afternoon, around 5 to 10 mph.
A number of trees in the area had collapsed due to the force of winter storm winds that day. The tree that claimed Allen’s life was a 40-foot pine tree which split at the base, according to 11Alive News. Workers of the public golf course came across the scene of the accident that afternoon and called 911. A spokesman for DeKalb County, who owns the golf course, stated that other trees in the area will be examined.
WTVM checked with a local arborist to see who might be responsible in the case of fatal accidents caused by falling trees. Jeremiah Wilson of AKA Tree Removal stated that under Georgia law, if the tree is green and appears to be in good health, any incident that occurs as a result of the tree falling is considered to be an “act of God.” If the tree is located on someone else’s property, a concerned citizen can contact an arborist and request that the property owner be sent a written notice to remove the tree. The property owner would only be considered liable after receiving the notice.
High winds from the winter storm also contributed to ice-covered trees falling on power lines and creating multiple power outages across the state, most in northeast Georgia. In some areas, winds were reported up to 40 mph. Roughly 4,000 power outages were reported.
Falling tree kills postal worker: The family of a veteran U.S. Postal Service worker killed on Saturday in a f… https://t.co/IVCUmmEKtW
— Welcome! Atlanta (@WelcomeATL) January 24, 2016
Family members say that Allen got up that morning just as he had done on many other mornings, prepared to go out and do what he had to do to take care of his family. The victim’s uncle, Nicholas Allen, stated that his nephew had been employed with the Postal Service for approximately 10 years. Allen was a devoted husband and father of two children.
The weekend winter storm, dubbed Blizzard 2016, has impacted residents all across the country, with three additional deaths being reported in Virginia and North Carolina as a result of motor vehicle accidents and multiple deaths in other states. Areas hardest hit, such as New York, Central New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, have seen as much as 10 to 25 inches of snow and are still digging out. Officials estimate that 80 million Americans were impacted by the storm countrywide. High winds resulting in falling trees and downed power lines are also playing a part in power outages in other states, with wind speeds reported up to 60 mph. Multiple traffic accidents, flooding, and cancelled airline flights have also been reported. Residents are urged to stay at home and off roads, if at all possible.
[Image via AP Photo/Mike Stewart]