Drunk Driver Damaged Tree Homeowner Must Trim

Trimming a tree is a tall order and expensive. But an Omaha homeowner questions why she has to pay. The tree sits on public right of way. But there's another interest twist to this dispute.

Lori Myhr worries a tree that stood up to a drunk driver won't withstand many more wind storms. .Lori says, " It’s only a matter of time before this tree causes real damage."

The crown of the tree has gone bald so Lori asked an arborist for a prognosis. Mike Meysenburg a tree expert says, "I think since the crown is defoliated that it’s probably a good idea to remove it."

But there's a second opinion on whether the tree can survive the crash. The city of Omaha says this injury isn't fatal and the tree should be trimmed not cut down. Even though its stands on public right of way that cost paid by the adjacent homeowner.

That’s Lori says instead of her the city should go after the drunk driver for the 550 dollar trim cost.

Lori says, " We got a call from an insurance agent who said it is a payable claim worth several hundred dollars. But it goes to the city we can't pay the homeowner because the tree is on the park way."

An Omaha parks supervisor says there's no record of the city collecting from the drunk driver's insurance. Even so that money would go to a replanting fund. Pruning costs are Lori’s.
The city trim order can be appealed for more time or a homeowner's request to remove the tree. Lori argues she shouldn't have to pay for a drunk driver’s damage.

A parks supervisor says it’s possible but unlikely that the crash caused the limb deterioration. For now the city’s tree experts believe the tree can survive but the adjacent homeowner is responsible for its care.

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