City's park director grilled by attorney at tree trial - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

City's park director grilled in tree trial

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Shanta Greene Shanta Greene
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

The city of Savannah's director of Park and Tree Dept., testified Wednesday at a trial about tree that fell and maimed a woman in 2010.

In 2010, Shanta Greene and two others were badly injured when the branch of a Live Oak landed on a truck that they were in.

Greene lost one of her legs and sued the city. Her attorney Howard Spiva said the city has not done enough to prevent tree-related accidents and is demanding the city change how they operate and care for trees and public safety.

Spiva cross examined Jerry Flemming for more than two and half hours on how his department identifies and handles trees that are a danger to the general public.

Flemming said that although his department does not go around looking for dangerous trees, everyone has a "moral obligation" to report something that concerns them. He said that's why the city set up 311.

Spiva countered that 311 was established in 2010 when the tree branch that landed on the vehicle Greene was in.

Spiva stated that even in 2013, not everyone knows to call 311 for help, and Flemming agreed.

Flemming testified that trees are living organisms and there's no real answer as to why one tree fails and others thrive.

There were moments of levity in the hours long questioning.  

Spiva said, "I'm almost finished."

Flemming responded, "I wish you were finished."

The courtroom chuckled.

Flemming said he thinks the city does a better job than most other cities when it comes to maintaining their trees.

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