Tree falls on pickup in Boardman

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A Canfield man was taken to the hospital Monday after a large tree came crashing down across the hood of his pickup truck while he was driving in Boardman.

Jason Bartholomew, 31, was driving his 2002 GMC Sonoma on Lockwood Boulevard near Shields Road when the tree crashed on to his truck, officials said.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol said the investigation is on-going. They said Bartholomew was in stable condition Monday night. His legs and arm are broken, but his injuries are not life-threatening.

“That’s a big tree and he was screaming loud. And I just hope that he’s alright,” said Tiffany Kirila, who witnessed the tree come down.

The decaying tree snapped and started to fall while Bartholomew was heading north on Lockwood Boulevard. The large oak tree pinned him inside the car.

Boardman Fire Chief George Brown said rescue workers not only had to use a hydraulic cutting tool to cut the roof off, but they also had to cut the frame and use rams to push the car up so they could get the steering wheel off the man’s legs.

“His horn was going off and he was screaming. And I saw the other tree that looked like it was ready to fall right after it,” Kirila said.

The incident was similar to one from April 16, 2007, about a mile away from the Lockwood Boulevard location.

“My husband was on his way home from work on Shields Road and a tree fell on his truck and killed him instantly,” said Lori Kish, who lives across the street from where Monday’s accident occurred. “And then I come home and see this in my front yard. What are the odds?”

The fire chief said the victim was conscious and alert when he was taken by ambulance to St. Elizabeth’s trauma center in Boardman. Kirila said Bartholomew slammed on his brakes just before the tree fell, possibly saving his life.

“Another second and it would have crushed the cab,” Brown said.

Kish immediately wanted to know the condition of the man in the truck, and whether he was going to make it.

“I’m just happy that somebody else, that person is going to go home to their family, the family still has someone,” Kish said.

Kish said no one was held responsible for her husband’s death, because the courts ruled the accident an “act of God.”

The Ohio Department of Transportation opened Lockwood Boulevard late Monday. ODOT will send out a crew Tuesday to take down the other part of the tree still standing, after a piece split off and landed on the truck.

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