Woman hurt when tree falls on van

Jeff Bobo • Dec 28, 2007 at 12:00 AM

ROGERSVILLE — A Rogersville woman survived a tree falling on top of her van last week, and now the question authorities want answered is who does the tree belong to.

Kimberly A. Clevinger, 32, 473 Oak Grove Road, Rogersville, was driving west on Oak Grove Road around 11 p.m. last Saturday when a “large tree” fell on top of her 1997 Chrysler van from a nearby yard.

Clevinger was treated for her injuries then released from Hawkins County Memorial Hospital.

Investigating officer Sgt. Chad Gillenwater with the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office stated in his report that the van had severe damage to the top, front and side portions of the vehicle.

Gillenwater added that the tree appeared to have fallen from the property at 434 Oak Grove Road, but upon speaking to property owners Norman and Tracy Johnson, they said the tree is actually close to the property line that separates their property from 430 Oak Grove Road. The Johnsons told Gillenwater they are not sure which property the tree belongs to.

Gillenwater also spoke to George Hults at 430 Oak Grove Road, who stated the tree belongs to the Johnsons.

Tree owners can be held financially liable for damage those trees do on public rights-of-way only to the extent that it is proven that the tree owner was negligent. Tree owners would not be financially liable if the tree fell as an “act of God.”

Damage to the van was estimated at $4,000.

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